American Artists in St Ives



The story of American artists in St Ives is one of most under-appreciated aspects of the history of British art.  This is an instance where British artists can be shown to have had an extraordinary international influence and the inter-reaction between leading American and leading British artists in St Ives, hailed as "the Mecca of the seascapist", resulted in several American artists going on to be leading marine painters in their country, whilst St Ives artists enjoyed extraordinary success at the Carnegie International Exhibition at Pittsburgh.  This topic was going to be the subject of a major exhibition at Penlee House Gallery, Penzance in the summer of 2018, but the requisite funding could not be obtained.  This page looks at some of the artists involved.


Click this link for a full listing of those American artists currently known to have visited St Ives and the dates of such visits.


Pre-Colony American artist visitors


For the visits of William Trost Richards in 1878-1880, George Boughton in 1881 and James McNeill Whistler in 1884,

see Pre-Colony St Ives Art


Early American Settlers


For American artists involved with the establishment of the art colony in the late 1880s - Edward Simmons, Vesta SimmonsHoward Russell Butler, Frank Chadwick, Charles Reinhart, Rosalie Gill - see The Dawn of the Colony.

Sydney Laurence  'Setting Sun on the Cornish Coast'  (Southampton Art Gallery)
Sydney Laurence 'Setting Sun on the Cornish Coast' (Southampton Art Gallery)


Sydney Mortimer Laurence RBA    (1865-1940)

Now hailed as Alaska’s leading artist, Laurence was an American adventurer who was based in St Ives for much of the 1890s, before deserting his wife and family.  As he embellished accounts of his life, the truth is sometimes difficult to establish and it appears that his second marriage was bigamous.  Laurence was born in Brooklyn, New York.  His father was Australian, his mother English and he was educated at Peekskill Military Academy.  He studied at the Art Students League in New York in 1888-9.  He also had lessons from Edward Moran, an Associate National Academician.  He exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1888 and 1889 but, after his marriage in New York in 1889, his wife, Alexandrina, also an artist, and himself came on honeymoon to England and decided to settle in St Ives.

From the outset, Laurence specialised in marine subjects, glorying in Cornwall’s “wild” coastline.  He had his first success at the Paris Salon in 1890 with A Wave, still describing himself as a pupil of M E Moran.  He also began exhibiting at the RBA in 1890, had two works included in the Dowdeswell Exhibition that December and contributed both oils and watercolours regularly to the RCPS exhibitions in Falmouth.  As with many of his contemporaries at that time, moonlight and sunset scenes featured repeatedly in his output. In 1894, his painting Setting Sun on the Cornish Coast won an honourable mention at the Paris Salon.  It was also included in the Cornish Artists Nottingham exhibition in late 1894, where it was considered the finest wave study in the show, and in the RBA exhibition in 1895, where it won praise from The Times.   The painting would appear to have been inspired by the view from Laurence’s Porthmeor studio.

In 1893, the Laurences are recorded as living in Richmond Place (No 1), the small group of terraced properties favoured by the artists at that time, which had been erected by Robert Toy, and Sydney appeared at the Carnival Masquerade that March dressed, to general amusement, as a Breton Peasant Girl!  Alexandrina came as ‘The Sunrise’.  The Laurences were not regular Show Day participants, as they took the opportunity to travel for extended periods in Europe.  Watercolour sketches reveal trips to Venice, Algiers and France.  Titles are, however, often unspecific as to place, such as The Evening Breeze or Passing Shadows.  Laurence also indicated that, at some juncture, he studied in Paris at the Beaux Arts under J P Laurens but it is not clear when.  In September 1894, the Laurences returned to St Ives after another trip abroad - this time to Vétheuil, Seine et Oise - , staying with Mrs Prynne at 7 Bowling Green Terrace, and Sydney exhibited on Show Day 1895 for the last time.  However, that summer, he advertised that he would be giving “lessons in oil and watercolors both from Nature and in the Studio” and, in the autumn, he exhibited three St Ives scenes at the RWA.  In both 1896 and 1897, his exhibits at the RBA included Cornish scenes, with one depiction of Kynance Cove being priced at £100, and he and Alexandrina took part in a number of the entertainments put on by the artists in the town.

In 1898, the Laurences took a lease of ‘Zareba’, close to the Porthminster Hotel, which had been occupied by Louis Grier’s father, until his recent death, but, with either his marriage or his finances, or both, in disarray, Sydney returned to New York and exhibited again at the National Academy of Design.  In April 1898, it was noted in the St Ives press that he had been engaged as a war artist by the New York Herald to cover the Spanish-American war and there clearly was at one time that year a plan that they should leave England, as the report on Alexandrina’s performance in a play in July commented, “We learn with regret that this is likely to be her last appearance on an English stage”.  However, she did not leave and Sydney returned to St Ives in 1899, and they moved to ‘Lyndon’ on Talland Road.  Indeed, in May that year, when enquiring about taking a three year lease of the Blue Bell Studio in St Andrew’s Street, he calls himself “a permanent resident of St Ives”.  However, in January 1900, he left again for South Africa to report on the Boer War for Black and White.  His despatches to the local paper dispel the myth that the role of a war correspondent was a soft one.  “In appearance, he is a dirty, grimy ruffian, hung all over with water bottle, field-glasses, forage bag, camera and a huge revolver stuck in his belt.  Always on horseback, always in everyone’s way”.  He went on to record several dangerous escapades and claimed that he lost his hearing after being clubbed by a Zulu warrior.  However, in May, he caught enteric fever and was sent home.  Laurence indicated that he was offered a decoration by the King for his war services but refused.  This may be a typical Laurence embellishment.

After his recovery, Sydney returned to work for Black and White and, in January 1901, he depicted The Wreck of the ’Seine’ on the Cornish Coast, an incident at Perranporth on 28th December 1900, in which five Newquay lads performed marvellous deeds of heroism. Laurence indicated that his drawing had been based on a sketch and photographs.

During 1901, the Laurences moved to Tonbridge, where he worked from The Studio, Bordyke.  However, he was often away, reporting from South Africa in March, covering the Boxer Rebellion in China in September and November and dealing with the visit of the President of Brazil to Argentina in December.  Their second son was born in May 1902.  In 1903, his illustrations for the paper include some naval scenes, including the explosion of submarine No 1 in Portsmouth Harbour, and an atmospheric rendering of the Pool of London. 

During Laurence’s time in St Ives, a number of locals acquired paintings off him.  Descendants of Thomas Lang of ‘Tremorna’ still retain a number, but it was the Reverend Edward Griffin and his brother, Frederick, who amassed the largest collection.  When, in 1892, Griffin was appointed Vicar of St Johns-in-the-Fields, Halsetown, having been curate in St Ives for a number of years, Laurence painted for him a depiction of the church and the adjoining vicarage in its isolated position, and, at one juncture, Edward Griffin’s direct descendants owned seven works by Laurence.  However, an inventory of the house contents of his brother, Frederick, a doctor from Southampton, compiled in 1928, revealed that he owned no fewer than fifteen oils and eighteen watercolours by Laurence - the prize piece being no less than Laurence’s greatest Cornish work, Setting Sun on the Cornish Coast.  Griffin family folklore indicates that, in 1904, Laurence was desperate to raise funds for his Alaskan gold prospecting adventure and that Frederick, whom he clearly knew well, for he had given him a painting as a wedding present in February 1896, obliged by buying his 1894 Paris Salon success for just £100.  Nevertheless, as Frederick did not pay more than £5 for any of his other purchases, this was still a big investment.  Accordingly, it is perhaps understandable why Laurence, in later years, told his Alaskan admirers that he had sold the painting to the French Government.  This sounded rather better than having to admit that, after failing to find a buyer for a decade, he had ended up flogging it, for a song, to his Vicar’s brother, to finance a madcap venture, which resulted in him not only deserting his wife and children, but also losing everything.  The sale to Frederick Griffin also explains why the painting has ended up in Southampton Art Gallery, for it was donated by Frederick or his heirs to their local Gallery in the early 1930s. 

By comparison, the rest of the Laurence paintings bought by Frederick Griffin were moderate pieces.  Most of the watercolours were bought for £1, as were some oils of waves breaking on rocks at Porthmeor, but he did pay £5 for a large watercolour, Storm Clouds, measuring 36” x 23”, depicting boats and gulls on Porth Kidney Sands by the entrance to the Hayle estuary, and the same sum for an oil of a ‘Tramp’, anchored out in the Bay with sails half furled to dry, measuring 42” x 33”. 

As indicated above, with his adventurous streak still not satiated, Laurence left England in 1904 to go prospecting for gold in Alaska, lost everything and made no further contact with his family.  He painted little in his first few years there but from 1911 began to take up his art again seriously.  In 1915, he moved from Valdez to Anchorage and, by 1920, was Alaska’s most prominent painter.  In 1923, he established a studio in Los Angeles and, for the rest of his life, he spent most winters in Los Angeles or Seattle, returning to Alaska every summer to paint.  Mount McKinley was a favourite subject and, in addition to marine scenes, he also featured native Alaskans engaged in their often solitary lives in the northern wilderness.  More than any other artist, he came to define for Alaskans and others the image of Alaska as “The Last Frontier”.  He remarried in Los Angeles in 1928, declaring himself to be a widower, although his first wife was, in fact, still alive.  In view of the long time without contact, both of them had little option but to assume that the other was dead, for when his eldest son was married in England in 1926, he indicated that his father was deceased. 

In the late 1920s and 1930s, Laurence seems to have produced a number of St Ives scenes based on drawings from his time there.  These include West of England Fishing Boats (Anchorage Museum), showing St Ives luggers with SS numbers on their hulls, and a work showing a ketch leaving St Ives harbour, which has until now gone under the incorrect title of Quay at Bristol (Alaska Heritage Museum).  A further painting showing a Lowestoft boat (LT 3) arriving at St Ives, in which the remains of the old wooden pier and the pepperpot lighthouse are depicted, also dates from this period.  This can be determined by the fact that the work is an oil on canvas laid down on Masonite, a method he only adopted in the 1930s.  The paintings are also much more assured in execution than his St Ives work, particularly as the siting of the pepperpot lighthouse at the end of Smeaton’s Pier would have otherwise suggested a date pre-1890. In 1991, KAKM Alaska Public Television made a film about Laurence’s life, entitled Laurence of Alaska, which won two Emmy awards.  Part of this was filmed in St Ives in 1989, with members of the Arts Club helping out as extras.  A large travelling exhibition was also staged in 1990-1 accompanied by a catalogue written by Kesler Woodward, entitled Sydney Laurence : Painter of the North.  Despite all this publicity, Setting Sun on the Cornish Coast remained in the stores at Southampton Art Gallery, with its artist unrecognised and its significance unknown until I spotted it in the Public Catalogue Foundation Hampshire catalogue!

Carlton Theodore Chapman  'Fish Sale outside 'The Sloop Inn', St Ives
Carlton Theodore Chapman 'Fish Sale outside 'The Sloop Inn', St Ives


Carlton Theodore Chapman (1860-1925)

Chapman, who became a highly regarded American marine painter, was the travelling companion of fellow American artist William Whittemore, when they stayed in St Ives for some months in the autumn of 1891.  He was born in New London, Ohio, and was raised under the auspices of the Baptist faith, but his schooling was mainly in Oberlin, Ohio, where the family moved in about 1873.  As a boy, he spent summers in his uncle’s shipyard in Maine, and he is reputed to have run away from home when aged fifteen and spent a year on a Great Lakes schooner.  He studied at the Art Student’s League, New York and at the National Academy, but then in 1888 moved to Paris, where he attended the Julian Academy under Lefebvre in 1888-9.  He also spent time in London.

Chapman was back in New York during most of 1890, but left for Europe in the spring of 1891.  He is recorded in St Ives with Whittemore, staying at 3 Tregenna Terrace from 22nd August 1891 until after the Visitors’ Lists ceased on 17th October.   However, he was back in New York for the meeting of the New York Etching Club on 19th February 1892.  One of the works that he did in St Ives Five O’clock at St Ives, Cornwall won a medal at the Chicago World Columbian Exhibition in 1893 and was shown as well at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1894.  It was also included in Chapman’s solo exhibition in Chicago in 1901, when the review suggested that it was a low tide harbour scene, “with all the sand, boats and buildings in clear shadow with the lingering rays of the sun illuminating the more distant buildings and the cliff beyond.  The rendering of the quaint houses is faithful and the color true and tender.”  The painting has not been located and just a sketch of a fish sale outside the 'Sloop Inn' has surfaced so far.

Exhibits by Chapman between 1900 and 1907 include a number of European subjects suggesting various further visits.  In addition to several depictions of Sussex spread over several years, he also exhibited Afternoon, St Ives at Chicago in 1902.

Abbott Thayer  'Cornish Headlands'  (Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC)
Abbott Thayer 'Cornish Headlands' (Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC)


Abbott Handerson Thayer NA (1849-1921)

Thayer was an American artist, who has been hailed as “one of the artistic heroes of the nineteenth century in American art”.  He was born in Boston and attended Chauncey Hall School, which had been founded by his grandfather.  His art teacher there, Henry Morse, taught him to paint animals.  From 1867-1875, he studied at the Brooklyn Academy of Design with Lemuel Wilmarth.  He then studied in Paris under Jean Leon Gérôme and it was whilst there that he met Thomas Millie Dow, with whom he became close friends.  In the 1880s, he decided to bring up his family in the Hudson River Valley and, in 1884, Dow visited him and they painted together.  However, in 1890, the mental illness and subsequent death of his wife from tuberculosis led him to paint a series of idealised, angelic women, which have been compared to the work of Botticelli and which won him great adulation.  Her loss led to great introspection and he found confort in transcendentalism.  In 1894, he and his family came over to St Ives, staying at 5 Bellair Terrace during July and August.  Millie Dow and his family were staying in the town at the same time and Thayer painted portraits of his children and did several landscape studies.  It seems clear that his idealistic visions of women influenced Dow’s subsequent symbolic female nudes, such as The Kelpie and Eve

Thayer returned to Europe in 1898, principally to collect specimens of several species of bird, as he had developed a theory on “the underlying principle of protective coloration in animals” and was preparing a book on the subject.  In this connection, he wrote from 3 Albany Terrace in June 1898 requesting permission for his son and himself to take species from cliffs belonging to the Estate of Lord Cowley, having already got permission from the Duchess of Cleveland in relation to her adjoining cliff properties.  Whilst in Cornwall, he painted Cornish Headlands, a work depicting the view from Clodgy, now in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.  Writing about this painting to his friend, the architect Stanford White, he commented that it was “one of a very few things I’ve done that I love and know to be something like great art.…I sat down on that headland and just reveled in the wonderful fact that its splendor could be to some extent perpetuated on that canvas.” 


John Carleton Wiggins  'Pastures by the Sea'  (RA 1896)
John Carleton Wiggins 'Pastures by the Sea' (RA 1896)


John Carleton Wiggins (1848-1932)  

Of all the American artists who worked in St Ives, the style of John Carleton Wiggins, a landscape painter, who specialised in pastoral scenes, usually featuring flocks of sheep or herds of cattle, is closest to the tonalist approach of the St Ives painters than any other, and yet American art historians pay little or no attention to the two years that he spent in the colony, instead concentrating on his time in France and Holland.  Whilst, without doubt, Wiggins, in much the same way as Adrian Stokes, was influenced by his experiences in France, and, in particular, by his first-hand analysis of the Barbizon School style, it seems inconceivable that he did not also note the approach to painting landscapes with animals employed in St Ives by artists such as Stokes, Arnesby Brown and Algernon Talmage.

Carleton Wiggins was born to Guy and Adelaide Ludlum Wiggins on March 4, 1848, in Turners (now Harriman), N. Y., west of the Hudson River.  Wiggins received his early education in Middletown N.Y., but moved to Brooklyn, aged 11, where his father opened a tailor shop on Dean Street.  He left school at fifteen to work in an office on Wall Street in New York. When not engaged in errands or office tasks, he would fill the hours by drawing, often copying war pictures out of the illustrated papers.  A wealthy client, Joseph Grafton, spied him drawing a romantic Civil War scene and bought it for $1. The next time Mr. Grafton caught the young man sketching, he supposedly said, “You don’t belong here, son,” and sponsored him at the National Academy of Design, where he studied under the famous Tonalist painter George Inness, who was well known for his evocative landscapes.  He had his first work hung at the National Academy in 1870.

In 1880, Wiggins went to Paris, where he exhibited at the Salon in 1881.  He also worked in Barbizon and was considerably influenced by the artists there.  The cattle paintings of Constant Troyon were also influential.  He then returned to America, married Mary Clucas, who had been born in the Isle of Man, and his son, Guy, who was to surpass his father’s reputation as an artist, was born in 1883.  During the 1890s, John, who, at that juncture, sported a very bushy moustache, brought his wife and his four children over to Europe.  An exhibit at Chicago in 1893 shows they had already visited Gréz-sur-Loing, where he will have no doubt heard about St Ives from Frank and Emma Chadwick, and he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon in 1894.  In June 1895, the family are recorded as staying at 2, The Terrace, St Ives before moving in mid-July to Tregarron House in Carrack Dhu Road, when they are joined by Mr and Mrs Hamilton-Hamilton and their daughters from New York. One detects an organised American reunion as Vesta Simmons was also in town in July and Howard Russell Butler and his wife arrived in August for a stay of several months at nearby 1 Carrack Dhu Road. 

Wiggins and his wife and two daughters are all signed in to the Arts Club in November 1895 by fellow American, Sydney Laurence, and they appear to have settled in the town for a while, as the Visitors’ List throughout 1896 records them as staying at 7 Carrack Dhu Road.  Wiggins also gave St Ives as his exhibiting address in 1896 and 1897.  The three pictures that he exhibited on Show Day in 1896 were described as “sunny idylls of the green fields and open country” and were all considered “fine in spacious treatment, unity of effect and charm of colour.”  His principal work, Pastures by the Sea, was a local scene, showing cattle grazing in a field, whilst below, in golden sunlight, rolled the waters of the Bay.   Both this and a work called A Lowery Day, featuring sheep on a track near the sea, were hung at the Royal Academy that year.  In 1897, his work was again highly regarded on Show Day and his Academy exhibit, In Holland Pastures, depicting cows at twilight, indicates a Dutch trip. Given the Barbizon influence affecting the landscapists at St Ives at this time, Wiggins’ work, with its “use of subtle lights and shadows, warm colors and soft edges”, fits neatly with the work of the St Ives contingent and there was probably an interesting exchange of tips between them.

Wiggins’ daughters, Grace and May, took part in various of the tableaux vivants put on by the artists in late April 1897 to raise funds for the new Library, but the family had left St Ives by the time the Visitors’ List started in June that year. 

Back in America, Wiggins linked up on a number of occasions with Henry Ward Ranger, another American painter influenced by the Barbizon School, who was working in Old Lyme, Connecticut, and then decided to acquire a property there.  In 1905, Brooklyn Life recorded,  “For years the village of Old Lyme, Connecticut, has had a summer art colony of much note. This season the colony has been augmented by Mr. Carleton Wiggins, who has acquired a very picturesque place overlooking the Connecticut River and with a combination of scenic qualities which has fairly entitled it to its name of ‘River Wood.”  Wiggins, who became a full member of the National Academy in 1906, made an important contribution to the reputation of the colony at Old Lyme and, in the 1915 edition of Biographical Sketches of American Artists, he was described as “the most distinguished painter of sheep and cattle in the United States”.  His works then could fetch as much as $10,000 - far more than they do today.

The colony at Old Lyme evolved into a major centre for American Impressionism during the first two decades of the twentieth century and the later visits to St Ives of Old Lyme colonists Wilson Irvine and William Chadwick, not to mention Wiggins’ own son, Guy, continued the connections between the two colonies. 

John Noble Barlow  'The Return of the Fishing Fleet - Early, Morning, St Ives'  (RA 1902)
John Noble Barlow 'The Return of the Fishing Fleet - Early, Morning, St Ives' (RA 1902)


John Noble Barlow (1860-1917)


Barlow was the son of a Manchester upholsterer, who was 'discovered' by the American artist, Sydney Burleigh, during a visit to England and was encouraged to join him in Providence, Rhode Island in 1882.  In 1887, he became an American citizen and, despite settling in St Ives, with his American wife, in 1892, his connections with Rhode Island patrons led him to have a number of exhibitions and auctions of his work in America and he represented America at the Paris International Exhibition of 1900, winning a medal.  His extraordinary story was the subject of The Siren Issue No 14



William Wendt ANA (1865-1946)  

Wendt is now called ‘the Dean of Southern California artists’ and is best known for his bold impressionist landscapes of the rolling hills and arroyos of Southern California.  Born in Bentzen in Germany, he was the only son and namesake of a livestock trader, William Wendt, and Williamina Ludwig. He attended school and at some point was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker.  However, his apprenticeship was an unhappy one, so that Wendt implored an uncle living in Chicago for passage there. He enrolled in some evening classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and also studied for a while under Frank Bromley (1859-1890) and the landscapist, John Franklin Waldo (1835-1920). He worked initially in a commercial art shop, where he learned to paint very quickly, but a prize at the Chicago Society of Artists exhibition in 1893 persuaded him to take up easel painting full time. 

Wendt made his first trip to California in 1894 and returned there in 1896 with the painter, George Gardner Symons.  In 1898, the pair of them came to Europe and spent several months in Cornwall.  One might imagine that, as regular travel companions, they were great friends, but Wendt’s letters are, in fact, full of barbed comments about Symons.  Having labelled him a fool liable to make over-hasty judgements, he comments, “I cannot tell you how disgusted I am with him at times.  Were it not for some admirable qualities that he has, I should hate him intensely.”  Wendt lived initially in the Ayr district of the town and took some lessons from Noble Barlow, an artist whom he greatly admired.  However, he does not appear to have intermingled a great deal.  “There are a number of artists in town but I meet very few...  The clannishness or rather the exclusiveness of the artists here is quite startling.  When I first came here, I was told by Mr S [Symons] that the artists were a loafing lot and, if we expected to accomplish something, we had better not mix with them.  Who his informant was I don’t know, but I find that it is entirely the other way.”  Given the numerous visitors that were warmly welcomed to the Arts Club, it was perhaps this touch of arrogance that led neither Wendt nor Symons to be extended an invitation.  However, Wendt did pass comment that Louis Grier’s studio tea parties, often put on for the benefit of his students, were one of the best occasions to meet others in the colony.

Wendt shared a studio with Mary McCrossan, whose work he liked, but he found it somewhat off-putting that her deafness led all her visitors to shout.  He makes reference to a moonlight picture that he completed, which was well-received but, in March, he was gloomy about his prospects at being hung at the RA and regretted having ordered a 36” x 60” frame.  On Show Day, he seems to have exhibited in Fred Milner’s studio and his work included “an effective woodland scene and one or two other clever studies”.  One of these, A Cool and Shady Woodland, was hung at the RA.  During his stay in St Ives, Wendt became friendly with the Lanham family, who entertained regularly at their Georgian residence in Street-an-Pol, ‘The Retreat’ (now The Guildhall) and he attended the funeral of Lanham’s wife, Lucy, in 1899.  He gave him a painting of a poppy field, which he inscribed “To my friend, Mr James Lanham’. This appears to have been a sketch for his painting The Scarlet Robe.

Wendt also submitted two landscapes to the Paris Salon  - An Autumn Melody and The River of Rocks.    The former, which featured low thatched cottages and brown haystacks, was later described as “a stormy sunset effect with huge masses of gray clouds blown by the wind across a golden sky.  The picture is sombre and tragic in tone, suggestive of the restive, troubled face of nature before a storm.”  The latter was a rather sombre moonlit landscape with birch trees in the foreground and a distant view of a cottage from which a light emanated.   When Wendt himself viewed the exhibition in Paris, among the work he most admired were canvases by Noble Barlow and Alfred East.  Reporting on his trip, he commented, “Contrary to my expectations and in spite of my sick spell, I liked and enjoyed Paris very much.  Had I not the studio and an accumulation of trash on hand, I should have gone to Barbizon or Etaples, but owing to this and other circumstances, I think it wiser to return to England, to battle with unfinished canvases and festering prejudices.” Wendt had by this time agreed to hold an exhibition in Chicago that autumn and was hoping to produce 25 canvases for this.  On his return to St Ives, he lodged in Gwithian and found inspiration in the local Towans or sand-dunes.  In fact, a work called Gwithian, now unfortunately lost, was at 60” x 75”, the biggest work he ever painted and was rated a masterpiece.  He was best man at Symons’ wedding to a St Ives girl, Sarah Trevorrow, in London in May but he was back in California by the beginning of July.

On his return to America, he was honoured by having forty-seven of his works included in the 1899 exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.  These included both Californian and Cornish subjects and his RA and Paris exhibits.  His contributions were felt to represent the best landscape works in the show.  The Chicago Tribune commented,

“A strong personal note is found in all his works but, at the same time, the collection as a whole gives evidence of versatility displayed by few painters of landscape now living in this country.  He has not only chosen subjects of widely different character, but greater evidence of versatility is shown in the expression of his own personality in them.  In all his work he has shown himself a colorist, and yet in different paintings the note is grave, gay, powerful, delicate, dramatic, or tranquil as the motive has impressed him.....Frequently his originality is shown in the choice of a point of sight, as in several views from the coast of Cornwall, in which the steep slope of a rocky shore looking down on to the sea far below is shown.  In one of his most vigorously drawn marines, he shows no sky but a reflection of the moon on the churning breakers in which the points of some rocks indicate the proximity of the shore.  In his Restless Sands, the sky full of fleeting clouds is cut high above the horizon by the outlines of dunes of yellow sand broken by spots of green and brown in the sparse herbage.  Old Age is the title of a view of a street lined with white cottages in a quiet Cornish village.  Westward shows a view of the sea from the cliffs, with a glare of the afternoon sun on the water, giving an effect of shifting uncertainty to the line of the horizon......In other works, Mr Wendt shows the sunlight of Califormia valleys, the chaotic masses of rock of the Cornish coast, the dreariness of wind-swept dunes or the peaceful quiet of English farms and blossoming orchards.”” 

This review of his contribution to the Chicago exhibition in 1899 makes it clear that, whereas the title of only one work - Cornwall Coast - indicates a Cornish subject, the majority of the forty-seven works featured are likely to be from his time in St Ives.  When interviewed in connection with the exhibition, Wendt did not wax lyrical about his time in Cornwall, saying that he felt that the American landscape offered “greater opportunities” than in Europe, and he indicated that he was heading to California where the climate allowed him to work out of doors during the winter months.

The show was a huge success as nearly half the works sold.  The remaining twenty-seven paintings were also exhibited at the Saint Louis Museum in January 1900, at the Cincinnati Museum in February  and then at Nashville Art Club in May.  In the latter instance, whilst the paintings were reviewed favourably in the local paper, The Tennessean, it subsequently reported that door receipts had been just $5-50!  Later that year, Charles Browne, editor of Brush and Pencil, did an article on Wendt’s landscapes, and this included illustrations of the Cornish subjects An Autumn Melody, Old Age, Chaos, Green Fields, Cornwall and Cornwall Coast, as well as The Scarlet Robe, which Browne suggested was a Californian scene.  In the article, Browne, a Tonalist who preferred subdued colour, commented,

“In the year or more spent abroad, his pictures show a decided change of color.  The gray days and somber seas of Cornwall make a distinct contrast to the poppy-dashed fields and red earth of California.  It was a useful experience as the trip to England had the effect of curbing his enthusiastic fancy and refined and chastened his aboriginal love for pure color.”

Possibly due to the success of his earlier Cornish work, Wendt returned to St Ives in May 1903, when he rented 3 Piazza Studios.  This was a new studio created by the new landlords, Bolitho Bank, out of the large studio that Noble Barlow had occupied until 1902 and in which Wendt would have sketched during Barlow’s classes.  The other section of the big studio, now No 4, was occupied by his compatriot, Elmer Schofield, who indicated that the lighting in Wendt’s part was far better.  Then, in early 1904, when Elmer had gone on his customary half year visit to the States, his studio was taken over by Wendt’s original travelling companion to Cornwall, George Gardner Symons.  Symons had in fact arrived by Christmas 1903, for Wendt and he visited Elmer’s wife, Murielle, on Christmas afternoon.  This led her to comment,  “Both Mr Wendt and Mr Symons flattered me by talking quite seriously on their aims in life”.

Wendt stayed for the best part of a year, although he paid visits to Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam and Paris.  Unfortunately, there is very little further source material relating to this visit.  Exhibited paintings indicate that he paid a visit to Restormel Castle, near Lostwithiel. Although in St Ives in March 1904, he did not exhibit on Show Day for some reason.  He was back in Chicago that August and exhibited five works at the Art Institute’s annual show.  None of the titles indicated Cornish subjects, but it is likely that one or more of A Glorious Day, Eventide, The Stilly Night and A Pearly Evening resulted from this trip.  Stilly Night won a prize at the exhibition.  He also won a silver medal at the St Louis Exposition in December. In March 1905, he had a one-man show comprising 42 paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago and this featured a number of works with obvious Cornish subjects - The Bay of St Ives, Ayr Lane by moonlight, Clodgy Point, A Cornish Mosaic and Restormel Castle Sentinels - but there may have been more (e.g. Wind-swept Dunes, A Defiant Coast, Boulder strewn hillside, The encroaching sea) as the majority of his titles do not indicate the location of the scene.  Again, the exhibition was highly regarded.  American Art News, which called it “the finest showing of this man’s work ever made here” commented,

“His art is marked by dignity and sincerity, a lofty imagination and an individuality which ranks him amongst the foremost landscape painters in America.  All local critics agree on the vigor and truth of his art.  A resident of this city since 1880, his rise has been identified with the birth and progress of art in the West.”

A Cornish Mosaic was singled out for especial mention due to its decorative quality.   The show seems again to have been successful as regards sales, as, when it moved on to Detroit in April, only 21 paintings featured.  Now the only obvious Cornish subject was Restormel Castle Sentinels.

In 1905, Wendt became engaged to Julia Bracken, a sculptor from Chicago, that he had known for many years.  They married in 1906 and settled in Los Angeles.  After this, he did not travel as much and devoted himself principally to the depiction of the Californian landscape.  Over the years, a number of other Cornish subjects appear in his output. In his 1909 joint exhibition with his wife at the Art Institute of Chicago, titles included Sand dunes on the Cornish coast and Gwithian.  However, a work Fields of Cornwall included in his 1926 show at Stendahl Art Galleries, Los Angeles may be an American scene, as it was dated 1925.

Wendt was co-founder and first President of the California Club in 1911 and was elected an associate of the National Academy of Design in New York in 1912.  Surprisingly, he was never made a full member. In 1912, he also acquired a studio-home at Laguna Beach and was instrumental in establishing the art colony there, thus working with George Gardner Symons and Anna Hills, two other Americans who had close connections to St Ives.  He died there in 1946. A major touring retrospective of his work took place in 2008.


George Gardner Symons RBA NA   (1861-1930)   

Symons was a highly respected American landscape painter, who married a St Ives girl and, accordingly, paid repeated visits to the town.  He was also close friends with William Wendt, with whom he first visited the town, and with Elmer Schofield, and he seems to have tried to assist some of the other artists he met in St Ives, such as Julius Olsson, Fred Milner and Hayley Lever, with their American careers.  He was a popular figure, described as having “genial eye, tan of sun and wind, strong grip, whether of extended hand or swiftly moving brush”, and produced work that was felt to have “a certain wide-eyed jubilant outlook”.

He was born George Gardner Simon on 29th October 1861 in Chicago, Illinois.  His father, Simon Simon (1840-1910), and mother Annie Elizabeth Simon (1842-1892) had both emigrated from Germany, and George was the fourth of five children.  He studied at the Chicago Art Institute, where he first met his travelling companion, William Wendt.  He is said to have studied also in Paris, Munich and London for some years, but there seem to be no details and little work from this period has surfaced.  However, he was in London at the time of the 1891 census, when he was lodging in Islington with the Gilbert family.   At that time, he was still using the surname Simon, but, due to concern about anti-semitism, he subsequently changed his name to Symons - the only one of his family to do so.

In 1896, Symons and Wendt had a productive period painting in California before in 1898 coming over to Europe, where they spent several months in Cornwall.  Wendt’s letters indicate Symons was in St Ives with him at the beginning of 1899 and he too may have studied under Noble Barlow.  According to Wendt, Symons was not short of self-confidence  - he would soon surpass Barlow in standard  - and did not mind expressing strong opinions - contact with St Ives artists should be avoided as they were a loafing lot.  Although he did not exhibit on Show Day, his Royal Academy exhibit that year was a Cornish scene, Rock-bound Cornwall, and he also had two works hung at the Paris Salon, a coastal scene being on the line. Symons did fraternise with some sections of St Ives society, however, as, on 17th May that year, he married a St Ives girl, Sarah Trevorrow.  Sarah, who had been born on 4th February 1877, was the eldest daughter of William H Trevorrow, whose shop in Tregenna Place sold musical items but who was also known for his photography.  They had met by chance as she was walking from her father’s shop to the Post Office.  She was well-known locally as a talented violinist and the age gap of some 15 years between them did not put her off. Somewhat surprisingly, they did not marry in St Ives, but at St Mary’s Church, Islington, possibly due to some contact that George had made there during his period of study in London.  Wendt, who was best man, reported, “The happy couple now reside in blissful ecstasy in Paris while I am uncaught and unfettered in England.”  Sarah became known as Zara thereafter.

Due to his marriage, Symons was regularly back in St Ives on visits to his in-laws.  He returned in September 1901, when he lodged for some months at 13 Carrack Dhu Road.  He is recorded back there in July 1902, and was listed as an occupant of one of the Porthmeor Studios at the time of their sale following the death of the freehold owner.  He seems to have spent the next couple of years based in England, working also in Oxford and Kent. In 1903-4, he appears to have timed his visit back to St Ives to link up again with William Wendt, and he rented Elmer Schofield’s Piazza studio, whilst Schofield was in America.  On hearing the news, Elmer commented, “I am glad to hear that Symons is staying on at St Ives - I should be pleased to see him again.”  His second success at the Royal Academy in 1904 was again a Cornish scene, The wind, the rain and the struggling spring : Cornwall.  The painting was also hung in Pittsburgh that year, whilst he exhibited Cornish Hillside at the St Louis World Fair in 1904.  On his return to Chicago, he held an exhibition of twenty works at O’Briens Art Galleries in November 1904, but the bulk of the paintings were depictions of Oxford and Kent.  However, one Cornish work that was highly regarded and illustrated with the review in the Chicago Tribune was Trelyon, Coast of Cornwall.  He also exhibited Trelyon Moors at the National Academy of Design in 1905. 

By 1906, Symons had discovered Laguna Beach in California and was one of the first artists to build a studio there.  This was on Arch Beach and Antony Anderson, the art critic of the Los Angeles Times, described it as “perched like an eagle’s eyrie in the crags above the restless sea”.  Symons commented that “He had been unable to find in all the world a spot quite so much to his mind.”  Anderson added, “The talk amongst the painter folk, indeed, is already of an American St Ives at Laguna” - a testament both to the attractions of Laguna and the reputation of St Ives.

Symons’ most prolonged visit to St Ives was in 1908-9.  During this time, he gave his exhibiting address as St Ives and was elected a member of the RBA upon the recommendation of the then President, Alfred East, a regular St Ives visitor.  He exhibited for the only time on Show Day in 1908, when he was working from 6 Piazza Studios, but his works were three American scenes.  One of these, An Opalescent River, a portrayal of the Charlmount River, New England, is a magnificent snow scene, which is very typical of Symons’ work, and is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  It was rated locally “a somewhat daring scheme of light effect” and “a work of great power and interest”.  Indeed, the majority of his paintings hung at English exhibitions depicted American subjects and he was already demonstrating his penchant for winter subjects, particularly snow scenes.  However, in 1908, an inexpensive work, Cornish Hills, was included in the RBA summer show, whilst, in 1909, a painting, called merely St Ives, was accepted at the Paris Salon, Bay of St Ives, Cornwall was hung in Chicago and Angarrack  - A Village in Cornwall was hung at the Royal Academy.  This village, which is close to Hayle, had an industrial past and was not a subject much tackled by other artists.  Whilst, at a later date, the Trevorrow family had connections to Angarrack, with Sarah’s widowed mother and Sarah’s sister, Mary Annie, living there, it is not clear what the connection with the village at this juncture was.  Symons also did a significant painting (30” x 49”), Old Mill, Angarrack, which was sold at auction in Chicago in December 2007.  This depicts the mill at the bottom of Hatch’s Hill - one of four large mills that used to exist on the Angarrack river, as it flowed through this narrow valley, before joining the Hayle River.  The mill no longer exists and the painting shows its rear elevation and the old water leat that used to feed it. 

In 1909, Symons and Zara paid a visit to Dieppe, where they were joined by Elmer Schofield, George Oberteuffer and Julius Olsson.  Olsson appears to have a become a good friend as on the few occasions that he submitted work to the National Academy, his address was given as c/o Symons.  This was also the case with Fred Milner.

It was probably during the 1908-9 visit that Sarah’s father retired and her parents moved to 2 Penare Terrace, Penzance, where they were living at the time of the 1911 census with their two unmarried daughters, Mary Annie and Kate, and their married daughter, Bessie, and her husband, Sydney Butterworth, the Parish church organist, and young son. 

According to Beatrice Estelle Trevorrow, the daughter of Sarah’s youngest brother, Henry, it was also at this juncture that George and Sarah agreed to foster Irene Sylvia Trevorrow (1903-1977), the eldest daughter of Sarah’s eldest brother, William (1875-1960).  Beatrice indicated that Irene had lived with the Symonses from the age of 4.  Quite why this foster arrangement was made is not known, but William’s business as a clock seller/repairer and jeweller in Tregenna Place was struggling and so he may have been having some difficulty in supporting three children, whilst George and Zara were no doubt disappointed that they did not seem to be able to have children themselves.  During their extended stay, it would appear that a firm bond had developed between Sarah and Irene.  Back in the States, she became known as Rene Symons.

Sarah’s enthusiastic accounts of life in America seem to have unsettled her family, as her youngest brother, Henry, who had trained as a piano tuner in Cardiff, decided to emigrate there in 1909, just a few weeks before his second child was due, and, whilst the idea was for his wife and two children to follow him out there once he had become established in a job, this never happened, although he had some success in a music related business, which resulted in him employing some fifteen people.  Beatrice indicates that her mother had been contemplating the move just as War was declared, but she is more likely to have been put off by the fact that Henry made no effort to contact her or the children.  In the event, he died in 1916 from diabetes. 

Sarah’s eldest brother, William  - Irene’s father - also decided to emigrate in 1911, settling in Hillside, New Jersey, but Rene remained living with Sarah.   William and his wife, Annette, had two further children, Dorothy (b.29/1/1917) and Arthur (b.26/5/1924), who were both born in New Jersey. With the fishing industry in decline, the emigration of the Trevorrows was part of a much larger trend.

By this juncture, Symons was acquiring a formidable reputation in the States, and he won a succession of honours over the next few years - in 1909, the Carnegie Prize at the National Academy of Design, in 1910, a bronze medal in Buenos Aires, in 1912, a gold medal at the National Arts Club and a bronze medal at the Corcoran Gallery and, in 1913, the Saltus Medal for Merit at the National Academy of Design.  He became an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1910 and a full member the following year. 

In early 1912, he held a one man show of over 25 paintings at Pratt’s Gallery, New York and this then moved on to the Corcoran Gallery, Washington.  A review of the latter in The Philadephia Inquirer reproduced an image of Cornish Fishing Village, which is a depiction of the harbour at St Ives, packed with boats at low tide.  Other Cornish works mentioned are Great Western Viaduct, Cornwall and Angarrack. The former will have been of the viaduct at Angarrack and a sketch of it came up at auction in February 2016.  Later in the year, George and Zara visited St Ives again, with Rene, and it was probably during this trip that he executed Fleeting Night, which was exhibited in 1913 - his last English exhibit. 

In 1913, Symons was on the Committee of the National Arts Club when Hayley Lever was made a life member and he exhibited Angarrack Village at the National Arts Club show in January 1914.  George, Zara and Rene all returned to Cornwall in June 1914, staying with Zara’s parents in Penzance.  Fred Milner told his regular correspondent, Mrs Brumfit, “An old friend, a celebrated American painter, is staying in Penzance but comes over here every day by the 8 o’clock in the morning and stops till the last train at night, so we go out working together - he is a very fine painter, one of their best.”  A week later,  he mentioned that Symons came along to sketch, whilst Milner tried some trout fishing in a lake - a day which proved a fiasco as some dynamiting in the locality meant that they frequently were running for cover as rocks rained down around them.  A painting, Showers, Old St Ives, hung in Chicago, was one of the results of this trip, as were most probably Old St Ives and Low Tide exhibited in Pittsburgh in 1918.   

Symons was, accordingly, present in St Ives when the Snell party of students were in town in the summer of 1914 and was mentioned by Dixie Selden as one of the artists who had been particularly helpful and encouraging.  Following the declaration of War, they returned to New York on 26th September.  During the visit, Rene also did some sketching and her work was the subject of fulsome praise in an article in the Los Angeles Times in September 1915 by Antony Anderson.

“When I visited the studios of Laguna beach a few weeks ago, not the least interesting among the pictures I looked at were the landscapes of Rene Symons, the twelve year old foster daughter of Gardner Symons.  Rene is a little English maiden, as sweet and pretty as she is gifted.  Though she has lived in the artist’s family for several years, she has imbibed all her knowledge of art by ‘contact’, having had no lessons in painting and no criticism, formal or informal.  She has just been permitted to do as she pleased.

The ‘modernity’ of her work is astonishing - breadth, freedom, virility, with a sense of pure color and the outdoor feel of things.  She showed me some sketches made at Arch Beach this summer, and a few from St Ives where she and Gardner Symons painted last year.  The little girl has been invited by several New York art juries to show her pictures in the regular exhibitions, but Gardner Symons has steadily refused this honor for her, as he does not believe in the encouragement of “infant phenomenons”.  But she will undoubtedly exhibit in due time and her work will, without doubt, take rank with the best from American landscapists - for, of course, Rene is now a little American artist.  America, indeed, has become the land of her devoted love.”

At the time of the 1920 census, Rene was still living with George and Zara, albeit now using the surname Trevorrow, and Beatrice suggests that she either lived with or remained very close to Zara for the rest of her life.  She died unmarried in Bronxville, New York in March 1977, aged 73, but there is no indication that she ever did exhibit her work either as Rene Symons or Irene Trevorrow. 

Symons’ success meant that he was able to maintain what Schofield described as “a very fine studio apartment” in New York, as well as his studio at Laguna Beach, where Wendt and he were joined by Noble Barlow’s former pupil, Anna Althea Hills.  Symons, therefore, was intimately involved in Southern Californian art, but he also became well-known for his New England snow scenes, especially of the Berkshire Mountains.  Of all his acquaintances from his St Ives days, Schofield seems to have retained the most contact and they had a number of joint exhibitions.  One reviewer, who met them at the launch of one of their shows, commented, “[They] agree like angels and devote themselves to kidding each other, their art and anything else that suggests itself.”  American commentators have attributed Symons’ continued espousal of painting en plein air to his European trips, particularly his time in St Ives.  However, he shared Schofield’s belief that Nature demanded to be observed continuously and that reliance on memory resulted in a loss of spontaneity.  Indeed, the fact that they had a similar approach to their work may have prompted them to exhibit together.  They had a joint show at the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo in 1922, which moved on to Rochester in 1923, before Symons persuaded Schofield to paint in California.  This led to two shows at the Stendahl Galleries in Los Angeles in 1928 and 1929.  Reporting on the 1929 Exhibition, the Los Angeles Times commented, “The vitality of the Symons-Schofield show fairly takes one’s breath away.  It keeps the Stendahl Galleries alive with excited comments from visitors.”  Symons exhibits included some paintings of St Ives, as he continued to pay visits there.  Wilson Henry Irvine (q.v.) recorded in his St Ives Journal in 1923 that he had had a letter from Symons saying that he was coming over to Cornwall that summer, (confirmed by Detroit Free Press 15/7/1923).  George and Zara also arrived in Plymouth from New York in April 1926 for a visit, whilst George also spent a significant period in the town in 1929.  His obituary in the local paper also indicated that he had been planning a further visit in 1930, before his untimely death early that year at Hillside, New Jersey. 

His widow, Zara, married the American impressionist figure painter, Louis Betts (1873-1961) in 1931, and enjoyed a splendid lifestyle with homes in New York, Sherborne Falls, Massachusetts and Laguna Beach.  They enjoyed thirty years together until his death in 1961.  She survived him and died in New York in 1971 aged 92.   

Despite Symons repeated visits to St Ives, very few depictions by him of the locality have appeared on the market, but, in October 2013, a painting of St Ives mackerel boats hauled up out of season on the edge of the Hayle Estuary was sold at John Moran Auctioneers, California.  This appears to have been in the estate of Zara Betts at the date of her death and so had been retained by her as a reminder of home.  It is boldly painted, with deliciously coloured water and a sunset effect.


Walter Elmer Schofield RBA  ROI  NA (1867-1944) 

During the first three decades of the twentieth century, Elmer Schofield became regarded as one of America’s leading landscape painters and is now lauded as one of the most important of the American Impressionists.  He also played a huge role in promoting St Ives in America, by recommending it to his fellow American artists and championing the work of his St Ives colleagues at the Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh, where he was on the Jury.


Schofield was born on 10th September 1867 in Philadelphia.  His parents had emigrated from England and his father became part owner of Delph Spinning Co in Philadelphia.  Not enjoying the best of health as a child, he was sent out west by his father to toughen him up and, for eighteen months in 1884/5, he lived the life of a cowboy.  His earliest works date from this period.  Between 1889 and 1892, he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts before, in late 1892, going to Paris, where he enrolled at Julian’s Academy, studying under Bouguereau, Ferrier, Aman-Jean and Doucet. During his three years in Paris, he travelled to Fontainebleau and Brittany and was fired with enthusiasm for Impressionism.  In 1894, he returned to the States and tried to work in the family business but it did not suit him.  He returned to Europe in 1895 with his charismatic and influential friend, Robert Henri, and fellow art student, William Glackens, and, from Paris, they cycled around Holland and Belgium to view the Dutch masters.  The following year, he visited England. 

In October 1897, Schofield married Murielle Redmayne of Southport, whom he had met initially in Philadelphia.  In 1899, he was elected on to the Carnegie Institute Jury - a fellow member being Anders Zorn - and, in 1900, he won Honourable Mentions both at the Paris Salon and at Pittsburgh.  His wife, however, did not take to life in America, particularly as Schofield’s spinster sisters took exception to a pretty English girl usurping a friend of theirs whom they had lined up for Elmer.  Accordingly, in 1901, Elmer and Murielle moved to England, living initially in Southport.  In 1903, Elmer moved his family, which now included two young sons, to 16 Tregenna Terrace in St Ives.  They stayed in St Ives for four years, during which time he was an active member of the Arts Club and helped to organise exhibitions at Lanham’s Galleries.  A gregarious man, Scho., as he was known to his friends, was much liked and he seems to have used his American connections to help his fellow artists exhibit at Pittsburgh and elsewhere.  On the other hand, there is little doubt that he was influenced by the plein air approach of the St Ives artists and he adopted a broader view and lighter palette.  Commenting to his friend, C.Lewis Hind, on his new found enthusiam, he stated, “Zero weather, rain, falling snow, wind - all of these things to contend with only make the open-air painter love the fight...He is an open-air man, wholesome, healthy, hearty, and his art, sane and straightforward, reflects his temperament.”  As if to prove his vitality, Schofield developed a penchant for snow scenes and started to use huge canvases for his outdoor works.  The result was panoramic landscapes, boldly and expansively painted.

Although a member of both the RBA and the ROI, Schofield always favoured the American exhibition circuit and American patrons and he developed a lifestyle that involved him spending as much as six months a year - normally from October to April - in the States away from his family.  He also went off on frequent sketching trips to Europe, leaving his long-suffering wife to raise two small children on her own with limited funds.  She comments in a letter, “I hope we can save something out of what you have left - we are going to be very, very careful.”   

In 1904, Elmer won a First Class Medal at the Carnegie Institute with Across the River.  This painting depicted the scene from the front yard of fellow American landscape artist, Edward Redfield, who lived in Center Bridge.  However, it was painted by Schofield from memory back in St Ives in a style clearly influenced by Redfield, who was was none too impressed as he had outlined his own plans for such a canvas to Schofield on his visit.

Snow scenes dominated his exhibits on Show Days, but the only Cornish subject shown was Cloudy Morning painted at Lostwithiel.  Although complimenting his technique, the reviewers clearly felt that his subjects were becoming a little monotonous but he had success at the RA in 1905 with Early Winter Morning and, in 1906, with Late Afternoon.  However, he did paint other subjects and a sunny, breezy picture Sand Dunes near Lelant, Cornwall painted in 1905 is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of New York and he exhibited A Cornish Village and Evening Alongshore, St Ives at Pittsburgh.

In 1904-5, Schofield persuaded a number of his American friends to visit St Ives.  These included George Oberteuffer, Walter Norris and Frank Hutton Shill and the four of them are photographed with John Park on The Wharf in St Ives.  Oberteuffer and Schofield sketched together on the continent a number of times. 

Schofield was a restless spirit.  No sooner had he settled into any new home that Muriel had located for the family than he would announce “Well, it’s time to be moving on.”  In 1907, his exhibit on Show Day was a Yorkshire scene and, clearly impressed by the northern landscape, he moved his family that year to Ingleton in Yorkshire.  A farewell dinner was thrown for him by his fellow artists at the Western Hotel. 

In 1907, he became a member of the RBA and French subjects predominate in his RBA exhibits over the next few years, with Spring on the Somme (1908) being a major work priced at £150.  In 1909, Elmer linked up with Julius Olsson and Oberteuffer, to go on a painting trip to Dieppe, where they met up with George Gardner Symons and his wife, who were working there.

Schofield continued to develop his reputation internationally and won a Gold Medal at the 1910 Buenos Aires Exhibition and the Medal of Honour from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915.  He returned to Cornwall regularly.  He is signed in as a visitor to the Arts Club in February 1911 and painted in Polperro in 1912-3.  In September 1915, albeit aged 48, Schofield felt sufficiently deeply about Germany’s actions that he enlisted as a private soldier in the Royal Fusiliers.  His old colleagues in St Ives were impressed and threw him a dinner and presented him with a signed Address.  With Olsson’s assistance, he received a commission from the Royal Artillery the following year.  He fought at the Somme and rose to the rank of Major but his only painting exploits were in camouflaging the guns under his command.  In a letter home, he commented, “Isn’t it strange!  A peaceful man if ever there was one and here I am rucking about in the middle of a terrific battle and rather enjoying things.”

In 1921, he returned to Cornwall, living at Doreen Cottage at Perranporth for four years before moving in 1925 to Otley, Suffolk, where his son, Sidney had started farming.   He won a silver medal at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. in 1926 with a Cornish scene, Little Harbour.  In fact, the Corcoran held three one-man exhibitions of his work in 1912, 1920 and 1931.  Schofield made more than forty crossings of the Atlantic by steamer and, between 1902 and 1937, the only years when he did not visit the States were the War years.  In the late 1920s and 1930s, with his marriage under strain, Schofield spent as much as nine months a year in the States and, in addition to returning as always to his home state of Pennsylvania, he spent long periods in California, Arizona and New Mexico, where he painted scenes of the American West.  In 1928, he had a solo exhibition at Stendahl Galleries in Los Angeles and the following year a joint one there with Gardner Symons.  However, when his son, Sydney, in 1937, purchased Godolphin House, the impressive manor dating from the 15th century, near Breage, he could not resist the lure of Cornwall again and he and his wife moved in during the autumn of 1938.  He immediately joined STISA and his paintings of the grounds of Godolphin House are some of the best of his career.  In 1941, after his son’s marriage to Mary Lanyon (daughter of Herbert and sister of Peter), he moved to Gwedna House, a smaller residence on the estate, where he died from a heart attack in 1944. 


See also The Siren Issue No 6 re Schofield, Oberteuffer, Shill and Marianna Sloan.



Richard Hayley Lever  RBA ROI NA (1876-1958)


Lever was an Australian born artist, who spent fourteen years in St Ives before emigrating to America in 1914, where he made his initial reputation with his St Ives paintings, which rank amongst the finest and most innovative work ever produced in the colony.


Lever was born in Bowden, Adelaide, on 28th September 1875, not in 1876, as all books have recorded to date.  The name Hayley came from his maternal grandfather, Richard Hayley (d.1882), the proprietor of the Bowden Tannery, known as ‘The Leather King’, who had emigrated with his wife, Ann, from England in 1857.  His father, Albion William Lever, was also a leatherman.  Lever was educated at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide from 1883 to 1891, and James Ashton indicated that Lever had studied art under him for eight and a half years. Later in life, Lever confirmed that it was in Adelaide that he first developed his love of harbours.  “I love boats; fishermen, the lap of the water.  All my spare time while I was growing up I hung around the port of Adelaide, watching the old clipper ships when they came in from England and America.”  

It has proved difficult to confirm precisely when Lever first came over to Europe to study in London in the mid-1890s.  Perhaps his twenty-first birthday in September 1896 resulted in an inheritance, which funded the trip.  The only certain thing is that, in 1898, he was awarded a certificate and bronze medal for drawing and painting at the Royal Society of Great Britain and Ireland in London and that he did not return to Australia until early 1899.  Having had an exhibition of his work, jointly with Ernest William Christmas, at Botting’s Auction Rooms, Adelaide, his return trip in September 1899 was stated in the local paper to be specifically to study under Olsson in St Ives.  On arrival in England, having spent some time in London exploring the Galleries there, he was in St Ives by 21st December, reporting to The Advertiser in Adelaide that St Ives was “very pretty and quite suited to his purposes” and that he entirely approved of Olsson, whom he described as “a genuine man”.  However, there is no reference to him on Show Day in March 1900 and his first mention in a St Ives context is when he plays for the local cricket team in May, going on to win a bat for the best batting average that season. However, his first few months in St Ives will not have been easy, as his maternal grandmother, Ann, died on 27th April 1900 and his brother Albion Charles Augustus on 25th May.

Notes in The Advertiser provide some additional detail to his first stint in St Ives.  One dated 29th November 1901 indicates that, on Lever leaving St Ives for Paris, where he intended to study the figure at Julians, Olsson had given a farewell dinner, at which Emanuel Phillips Fox “and other Australian art pupils” (e.g. Will Ashton and Arthur Burgess) were present.  Another note dated 28th March 1902 records that he had returned to St Ives.  After a period when the notes refer principally to paintings hung at various venues and to the occasional sale, that of 27th November 1903 is especially interesting, as it records that, during Lever’s time in St Ives that summer, he had received considerable encouragement from some of the leading artists of the day.  “During the summer, Mr Lever had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of Mr H.W.B.Davis, the Academician, who visited his studio in St Ives and gave invaluable advice and criticism, bought a couple of sketches and generally much encouraged the young artists...Mr Alfred East ARA and Mr Arnesby Brown ARA also visited...both expressed the opinion that he had improved greatly in his work.”  The note also records that Lever had enjoyed his best ever year in terms of sales and had “decided to spend the winter months in Parisian ateliers and, when opportunity affords, he intends to indulge his penchant for painting snow scenes on the banks of the Seine beyond the limits of Paris.”  Lever was keen on such scenes, for they were hung at the New Salon in 1903 and 1904.

His return to Australia in 1904 was to visit an ailing member of his family - his mother, Catherine, who had tuberculosis - but he left St Ives before Will Ashton, arriving in Adelaide on 9th October, having done twenty-five sketches on the trip.  His mother died on 9th December.  Whilst in Adelaide, he held a number of exhibitions of his work and impressed the local art critics and art patrons, his St Ives subjects being felt to be particularly captivating.  One critic wrote, “He paints things as he sees them, and there is a vigorous and lively personality behind his brush.  His effects are broad and striking; they have a compelling directness and decision.  Mr Lever’s masculine, virile, muscular...Many of his pictures have been done in the quaint Cornish fishing town, St Ives, and he gives one a good idea of the old world charm of this dear, sleepy place, with its queer brown-sailed fishing fleets and odd streets.”  

On his departure for England on 16th November 1905 to “continue his studies”, The Advertiser records Lever’s long-term intentions, “He will once more make his headquarters at St Ives, the famous Cornish fishing village, where his studio is situated and he intends to put in at least a year in Venice.  Mr Lever has commissions from several leading South Australians to paint pictures of Cornish and continental scenery.  He purposes to make a comprehensive tour of Europe and will probably visit America and Canada before his return to Adelaide five years hence.”  In the event, he never made it back to Australia.


Almost immediately on his return to St Ives, Lever married Aida Gale, the headmistress of the St Ives Infants (Board) School, whom he had met in lodgings in Richmond Terrace shortly after his arrival in the colony.

Another interesting note in The Advertiser records on 21st September 1906, “Mr R Hayley Lever has left England for a time in order to join a party of artists who propose to spend some months at Montreuil-sur-Mer in France; the party includes Mr Alfred East ARA and Mr Frank Brangwyn and Mr Schofield”. Quite how long this party stayed together is uncertain, as, apart from Brangwyn, Montreuil titled scenes have not appeared in the salerooms by any of these artists, and no work dated 1906 by Lever places him outside England.

During 1907, The Advertiser records, in a note dated 28th June, how “Mr Lever has had the pleasure of entertaining the well-known comedian, Mr Weedon Grossmith, who purchased no fewer than five pictures.”  In November 1907, the paper reported that Lever had started to study etching under Alfred Hartley.  Accordingly, he will have been one of the first St Ives artists to take advantage of Hartley’s expertise as a printmaker.  Quite a number of etchings of Cornish scenes by Lever are known, with Mevagissey being a popular subject.

Lever’s trip to the Continent in 1908 seems to have been particularly inspiring, but, sadly, there are few reports of this in The Advertiser.  His intention to spend a month or so sketching in Holland early in 1908 is recorded in a note dated 22nd November 1907, but the only other relevant note, dated 15th June, records that Lever was “spending a few days in London doing the rounds of art galleries and studios ere returning to Bruges where he intends to sketch for the next month or six weeks”.  This suggests that Lever had possibly gone on from Holland to Belgium before returning briefly to England, and the Spanierman exhibition contains a fine painting of a Bruges canal.  It is likely to be during his time in Holland that Lever’s interest in Van Gogh was aroused and his fine work Van Gogh’s Hospital dates from this year.  However, an unpublished biography of Lever by art dealer, Mary C Liberatore, suggests that Lever’s interest in Van Gogh and the Fauves may have been further stirred from staying with fellow Australian artist, John Russell, who lived between 1888 and 1909 on Belle-Ile-en-Mer, a remote island off the coast of Brittany, and who had known Van Gogh from his student days.  Certainly, dated works place Lever in Concarneau that year.

During 1909, Lever is recorded as staying with friends in Bristol in May, where he was “making some sketches and drawings with a view to painting a large picture of the port later on.”  That July, he was in London.  “He proposes to stay a month in the metropolis and will spend a good deal of his time studying figure drawing at the London School of Art in South Kensington.”  This seemed to go well for, the next month, Lever is declaring that he “proposes next year to make London his headquarters in order to further study figure drawing and to paint the River Thames”.  Back in St Ives in December 1909, Lever was feeling particularly enthusiastic about his art, telling The Advertiser, “This year has been the best so far.  My reputation has greatly increased.  My work is being exhibited in all the leading galleries in England and abroad.”   The remaining notes in The Advertiser confirm the range of Galleries at which Lever was now exhibiting and the honours that began to come his way.

One area that Lever seems to have depicted repeatedly during his time in St Ives is that around Exmouth.  Dated paintings place him in the area every year from 1903-1914, other than in 1907, and his exhibition at the University of Rochester Memorial Gallery in 1914 contained seventeen Exmouth works. As Aida originally came from Devon, there must be a good chance that these paintings were done on trips to see her relatives or old friends, but the precise connection has not yet been pinpointed.  Stand-out works include Sunshine in the Hills - The River Exe (40” x 50”), dating from 1910 and Dance of the Boats.

In early 1912, The Studio commented that Lever was “an impressionist of daring resource and with an unusual gift for eloquent design” and that his works had been eagerly searched for at exhibitions of the RBA.  In fact. Lever only exhibited at the RBA between 1908 and 1910 but his eighteen works were almost exclusively St Ives scenes and included Morning: Drying Sails, St Ives (£150), Haven Beneath the Hill (£157-10s) and Reflected Light (£300).  In 1909, the Daily Express was particularly taken with the first of these works.  “The grey sails seen against the sun, the green reflection under the boats and the glittering pools of light in the foreground are absolutely lifelike.  Closer inspection shows that the paint is laid on in uniform squares of light colour, somewhat in the manner of the French Impressionist painters, but with a result almost blinding in its brilliant realism”.  Writing to the Sydney Art dealer, A.W. Albers, recommended by fellow Australian, Sidney Long, Lever confirmed that he had been a leading member of the RBA for three or four years and a member of the ROI.  “However, I resigned after thanking them for the honour.  I made up my mind to keep away of being a member of societies for a while.” 

Lever seems to have become very unsettled in St Ives after 1910, possibly due to financial constraints.  He confided to Elmer Schofield that the real reason he had ceased membership of the RBA and ROI was that he could not afford the subscription fee and, in April 1912, he wrote to Reginald Glanville, the property agent, applying to rent a cottage in the Ayr district of St Ives.  He had been living in Carrack Dhu Terrace for some years but now found the rent too much.  “My thoughts of a cottage at lower rent than I now pay would give me the opportunity to pursue my studies”, he tells Glanville.   Lever’s decision in April 1912 to apply for a new tenancy suggests that he had little expectation that his desire to move to America, as so forcefully expressed in his letter to Elmer Schofield just two months previously, would come to fruition.  In that letter, he had called St Ives “the land of the dead” and stated that he was very anxious “to get out of this mud here”.  He continued  “This place is for the “lame ducks” & more so every day.  The crowd that come here, Scho., is enough to turn one grey...... I can tell you if I found that I was well treated I should pack up & be a citizen of a country that I feel worth calling a country, the Land of the Stars and Stripes.”  St Ives by 1912 had certainly lost some of its dynamism but, without doubt, Schofield’s own restless spirit and philosophy had unsettled him.

Lever’s interest in America stemmed not only from the many Americans that he had met during his time in St Ives but also from the plaudits he had won for his first exhibits in the States, which had most probably been organised by Schofield.  He first exhibited at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1910, when his work, Port of St Ives, Cornwall, was hung prominently in “Position 1”  This superlative work, full of luscious colour, which had been hung at the New Gallery in 1909, was later bought by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.  It depicts a busy scene in the harbour, with a variety of craft discharging their cargo.  Several topsail schooners and a gig in the foreground still have their sails up, which suggests that it has been raining and the fishermen are waiting for the sails to dry.  The group on the beach are probably women counting the catch.  Lever had further success in Pittsburgh in 1911 with Great Western Railway Viaduct under Snow, which won an award, and, in 1912, with A Cornish Viaduct in Snow

Ships manifests indicate that Lever did not emigrate with his family to America in 1912, as previously believed, but made several trips there on his own to test the water, before the outbreak of War persuaded him and his wife to take the final plunge.  Accordingly, he is recorded on his own on sailings leaving England in April and September 1912.  Then having spent the summer of 1913 back with his wife, who was then living at Laurel Cottage, Withycombe, Devon, he sailed with Elmer Schofield on S.S. Devonian which left Liverpool on 23rd October 1913 and arrived in Boston on 2 November 1913, his final destination being New York.  Having returned with Elmer Schofield on S.S. New York from New York to Plymouth in May 1914, Lever finally took his family with him in October that year, sailing from Liverpool to New York on the S.S. New York, arriving 18th October 1914.  Their last address in England is recorded as c/o Aida’s sister, Nora, who had married the Truro-based accountant, William Mock.


Lever's acceptance into New York artistic circles was rapid. He was made an artist life member of the National Arts Club in 1913 - George Gardner Symons was on the Committee - and in 1914, Winter, St Ives - a view of fishing boats beached in the harbour and applauded for its “fine sense of time and place, of line, design and pattern”  - won the National Academy of Design’s Carnegie Prize.  That year, he also won the National Arts Club’s Silver Medal for The Harbour at St Ives and held exhibitions of his St Ives paintings at the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York and at the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts.  In 1915, he was awarded the National Arts Club’s Gold Medal for Dawn, St Ives and won a Gold Medal at the the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco for St Ives Fishing Boats.  In 1916, he was again awarded a Gold Medal by the National Arts Club for Early Morning at St Ives


In addition, Dallas Museum of Art owns Fishermen’s Quarters, St Ives (50” x 60”).  This is, in fact, a sunny harbour scene, looking from the West Pier across to the junction of The Wharf and Quay Street.  Accordingly, the fishermen’s boats, and their reflections, play a more important role than their houses.  This was a work that Lever showed at the National Academy of Design in 1915 and drew considerable praise from the correspondent for the New York American, who was impressed by the way in which Lever used “repeated effects to lead the imagination back and through the composition...Here the hollow of the scene is threaded through and through with repetitions that, if they were reduced to a diagram, would represent a criss-crossing of receding lines.  The result is to secure an actuality of appearance that fills the scene with vitality of sensations.  Some may feel that the effect is restless; but St Ives, where the picture was painted, faces uninterruptedly the Atlantic Ocean, and braciness of wind and weather are an element of its life...apart from truth to nature, the impression will seem to others not so much restless as vigorous and vital.”


Dawn, St Ives (50” x 60”), was his exhibit at the National Academy in 1916 and this was acquired by the Corcoran, Washington.  This depicts a misty early morning scene, but a lot of activity is taking place on the beach by Smeaton’s Pier, as fishing boats unload and take down their sails.  Baskets of fish can be seen lined up on the quayside, ready for auction.  This again won high praise, with one critic saying, “There is a sharp and lovely poetry in the thing.  No other marine painting in the exhibition seems to me of equal significance.”  Montclair Art Museum’s Beach at St Ives, Cornwall (30” x 40”) is quite an unusual scene for Lever, as it concentrates on the holiday crowds and bathing tents on Porthminster Beach in the height of summer, whilst a variety of craft are depicted on a turquoise sea.  Finally, University of Rochester’s St Ives, Cornwall (25” x 30”), which was the gift of the artist, is a view from the harbour beach across a crowded harbour to an empty Porthminster Beach, over which steam hangs as a train has just left the station. 


In 1919, Lever became a painting instructor at the Arts Students League in New York, a position he retained until 1931, and, in 1925. he was elected an associate member of the NAD, becoming a full academician in 1933.


In 1927, during a trip to Europe, he returned to St Ives, producing another magnificent painting, Mid-day in the Harbour (50” x 60”), which fetched $134,500 at an auction at Christies, New York in September 2010.  During this visit, he picked up a group of early paintings that he had done in the town and he exhibited these in a solo show at the Macbeth Gallery the following year.  This makes it even more extraordinary that, in the early 1990s, a set of over sixty rolled up canvases by him were discovered in a St Ives attic.  These were sold by the Penzance auctioneers, W H Lane & Son, on 26th March 1992.

Lever was extraordinarily prolific  - the barn at his New Jersey home at the date of his death being found to be packed full of sketches - and so almost every month another Lever painting from his time in Europe comes up for sale.  The quality of these are very variable and so, accordingly, are the prices they fetch.  It is increasingly clear that Lever used his St Ives sketches to produce paintings of the town many years later.  As these increasingly rely on pattern making and design, his failure to recall the precise topography of the townscape is of little consequence.  Accordingly, some works that seem extraordinarily advanced for a pre-War work may in fact have been done many years later.  For instance, his exhibit at the National Academy in 1924, Storm, is a St Ives scene and, even in 1933, he was exhibiting there Landing Fish, St Ives.


Karl Schmidt (1890-1962)

Schmidt was an American artist, who worked in St Ives for several months in 1913 in the early stages of his career.  As he became best known for his bold, decorative seascapes, his time in St Ives was of significance.  Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, he began painting after completing his education at his local college. When interviewed at the end of October 1913 in his St Ives studio by ‘Bleistift’, the art correspondent of the St Ives Times, he had been working in the town “for the past two months”.  He commented, “From what I had heard I expected to see something of interest, but considering Mr Schmidt has barely been handling the brush for six months, what he had to show was little short of amazing.  He is a veritable David, slinging paint at giant problems that would give pause to many a fully equipped artist”.  He “traces his gift for painting through his grandfather, who was one of the best house decorators of his day and inherits his emotional temperament (the sine qua non of the artist) from his mother, who, as a musician, both plays and composes.  Mr Schmidt does not spare himself and given health to stand the strain, I think there can be little doubt that he will arrive.”  A watercolour Winter Surf was exhibited in Chicago in 1913.
Several paintings of St Ives have come on to the market in recent years, such as Heavy Sea, Sunset rocks at St Ives on 15/6/1995 and Sunset at Carthew on 6/8/2005.  Then during 2016-9, Oakland Museum, Oakland, California have been selling off a large number of works that must have originated from his studio collection.  A number of these date from 1913-4 and are St Ives scenes - the best of which is a small panel, Reflections, St Ives.  A painting After the Storm was exhibited at NA in 1914, whilst On the Cornish Coast was shown at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1917.  Whilst his St Ives works show a bold and decorative use of paint, he soon progressed much further and became more daring in works such as his Great Pacific series of 1915.                                                      

By 1915, he was living in Santa Barbara where he continued to paint. In 1918, he joined the Navy, and pioneered the construction of lighter-than-air craft, alongside his continuing exhibitions in art, solo and group. He died in Los Gatos, California.


Charles Herbert Woodbury (1864-1940)

The Elmer Schofield papers alerted me to the presence in St Ives of the well-regarded American marine and seascape painter, Charles Herbert Woodbury, who became closely associated with the colony at Ogunquit, Maine, where he was an art teacher for many years. Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, Woodbury had initially graduated as an engineer, before studying art in Holland and at the Julian School, Paris with his new wife, Susan Marcia Oakes (1865-1913), in 1890-1.  He came to St Ives during a further European trip in 1903-4 and, in December 1903, Murielle Schofield mentions him twice in her letters to her husband, indicating that he was known to Elmer.  She records how Julius Olsson was keen to meet Woodbury, not, it would seem, through a desire to converse with a fellow seascape painter, but because Woodbury had hired a studio, which Olsson had rented each winter previously, and showed little inclination to give it up! Woodbury often painted just rocks and sea and rarely gave locations in his titles, and so it is very difficult to say how much work he did in St Ives, but a number of works in the former collection of the Strong Museum, Rochester, New York seem to be Cornish scenes.  Indeed, one work is called Cottage, Cornish Coast  and this and several other works, such as Fishing Fleet, are dated 1904.  A sketch showing figures on a cliff watching a ship in danger in a storm is also felt to be a Cornish subject.  Woodbury’s strong colour and decorative treatment would have aroused interest in St Ives.  Unfortunately, when the Strong Museum became a children’s museum, these works were de-accessioned and sold off through Vose Galleries, Boston.


Frederick Judd Waugh (1861-1940) NA RWA   

Waugh became one of America’s best known and most prolific seascape painters and admitted that his passion for the sea really took hold of him during his time in St Ives in 1895-6 and 1905-7.  During his lifetime, he was generally recognised as having assumed the crown of Winslow Homer, as America’s leading marine painter, and his work remained hugely popular with the American public, albeit not with exhibition award juries, right up to his death.  The renaissance of Waugh’s reputation is largely due to the efforts of one man, Edwin Ulrich, who, from the 1950s to 1970s, bought practically every Waugh painting he could find and whose collection of over 300 Waughs is now housed at the Ulrich Museum, Wichita State University. 

Waugh was born in Bordentown, New Jersey and was the son of the portrait and landscape painter, Samuel Bell Waugh (1814-1885), who had painted both Grant and Lincoln, and the miniaturist, Mary Eliza Young Waugh (1833-1912), whose subjects had included Jenny Lind. He studied under Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1880-3 and then at the Julian Academy in Paris under William Bouguereau.  In 1883, he worked in Grez for a while, where he became friendly with John Lavery and posed for the man in the skiff in Lavery’s picture of Grez bridge.  He also befriended there fellow American, Alexander Harrison. He had his first work hung at the Paris Salon in 1884 but his French sojourn was abruptly terminated by the death of his father in the summer of 1885. 

Back in Philadelphia, Waugh did some portraits and commercial work before, in June 1892, marrying local girl Clara Eugenie Bunn (“Gene”), whom he had met ten years earlier at art college.   Bored with his lot, he decided to take his new bride to Europe, where they spent much of the next fifteen years.  They settled initially in Montparnasse in Paris, where Frederick enrolled at the Julian School in 1888-9,  before, in 1893, being given the chance to holiday in Sark.  They fell in love with the island and stayed two years, with their first child Gwyneth being born on 9th November 1894.  Fred found plenty of commercial subjects that sold well and he had his first success at the RA in 1894.  Although he did not concentrate on marine pictures during his stay, it was here that he started to make careful observations of the action of the waves as they broke on the shoreline and began to take an interest in seascapes.  A fine painting of a rocky bay, merely entitled Sark, is owned by Guernsey Museum.

Although I have found no clearcut reference to him studying under Julius Olsson, it seems no coincidence that Waugh’s first visit to St Ives in 1895 should coincide with the opening of the St Ives School of Marine and Landscape Painting.  He rented Fern Hill Cottage in Carbis Bay, which his wife described as “a delightful cottage on a hill” and it was there that their son, Frederick Coulton, was born on 10th March 1896.  Neighbours included Havelock and Edith Ellis.  In his autobiographical notes, Waugh commented, “I had just the same splendid stuff to paint, plus a good studio in St Ives.  From the windows, I could look out over the rocks, covered at high tide with the sea.  This was a paradise for me, for the comfort of a studio on the coast was a thing impossible in Sark.  By this time, I began to concentrate on wave forms, and it was at this time that my greatest ambition to paint the sea took possession of me.” 

Although he exhibited a painting Carbis Bay, Cornwall at the 1896 winter exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy, most of his early work in St Ives concentrated not on the sea but on the streets and buildings of the town.  A number of these drawings were donated by his descendants to Syracuse University in 1968.  These include a very fine sketch of the seaward side of St Andrew’s Street, with the church tower behind, and a view down a steep set of steps and along an alley with the pepperpot lighthouse on Smeaton’s Pier on the other side of the harbour visible.  However, in September 1896, commercial considerations prompted a move up country, to Leighton Buzzard, the home of a good patron.  He managed to obtain the use of a large meeting room in the Town Hall as his studio and did a painting of the quaint market place there.  An advert in the local paper indicated that he gave a summer sketching class there in 1897.  In November 1898, he had his pastel, A Letter from Grandma, published as a full page illustration in The Graphic, and his painting Nature’s Quiet Joys, when shown at Bristol that year, was voted one of the public’s most popular pictures.  When it was exhibited in 1899 at the RA, it was bought by Mr Palmer of Huntley and Palmer. 

In 1899, an exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Club was a St Ives marine Off the Coast of St Ives, Cornwall, evidencing a return visit and a renewed interest in marine painting, but, that year, he moved to Hendon, where he obtained work for The Harmsworth Magazine and received a number of commissions from the Harmsworth family.  One of these was for a silver repousse cigar basket. 

When the Boer War broke out in October 1899, Waugh realized that there would be far better opportunities at The Graphic, where he worked for the next seven years.   During the war years, he would receive despatches and sketches from the Front each Friday, and then would work at white heat over every weekend to deliver his finished pictures to The Graphic by Monday morning.  He then had the rest of the week for easel painting.  After the war, Waugh’s commissions for The Graphic included a portrait of the Duke and Duchess of York. 

Waugh’s son indicated that his father nevertheless retained a studio in St Ives  during these years and attributes to this period a number of paintings of the town in the immense Ulrich collection. A St Ives street scene dated 1900 is also noted by SIRIS.  However, none of his major exhibits during this period were Cornish scenes - nor incidentally were they marine work. 

Waugh, by this juncture, was making a name for himself.  In 1901, Gene and he moved to the impressive double fronted Robert Adam designed house, ‘Mannamead’, at 42 Haverstock Hill, where they were joined by Gene’s mother.  Among regular guests was John Lavery. Henry Herbert Wills of Imperial Tobacco bought Early Toilers (RA 1903) from an exhibition at the RWA, where Waugh was elected a member in 1904.  The RWA collection now includes a work entitled The Green Grove, probably given by the artist on his election, which features a group of attractive white-clad maidens singing songs to the accompaniment of a harp, in a grove surrounded by a tall hedge, in springtime.  Through a gap in the hedge can be seen a group of spectators interested in the springtime ritual that the girls are performing.  It must be a possibility that this is, in fact, his 1901 RA exhibit Spring Time and Song.  Whilst housed in an attractive decorative frame, the painting is rather wooden, with unconvincing perspective, and is not particularly successful.  He also had five works bought in 1904 by the Bristol Art Union as prizes, which included three Boer War sketches and two works that had already been reproduced in colour in The Bystander - the Japanese subject, O Mimosa San and the watercolour, Mademoiselle Fifine.  He also managed to sell his 1904 RA exhibit In the Heart of Great London during that exhibition to Durban Art Gallery, and also sold that year a highly regarded pastel, Snowdrifts, to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

In the summer of 1905, the Waughs returned to America for a while, arriving in New York on 9th July, and, during the visit, they stayed with Fred’s half-sister, Ida Waugh (also an artist), who had a cottage on Bailey Island on the coast of Maine.  This seems to have re-ignited his passion for the sea, and so, on his return to England, he came down to Cornwall determined to convert himself into a marine painter.  Accordingly, his three submissions to the RA in 1906 were all very different to what he had submitted before and were all marine scenes, if not pure seascapes - Cornish Blue, The Thunder of the Surf and Mid-Atlantic : The Roaring FortiesThe Thunder of the Surf was highly rated and was described as being of “dripping rocks and rough sea”.  Whilst such description might apply to any number of Waugh’s later works, it might well prove to be the very fine painting now owned by the McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock, which shows surf pounding on the rocky coastline of St Ives Bay, with Godrevy Lighthouse in the background.  Mid-Atlantic : The Roaring Forties was a painting dated 1906 and was sized 32” x 40”.  Accordingly, it was likely to have been inspired by a sunset scene witnessed during his 1905 crossings.  When Waugh later exhibited it in America, he merely called it Mid-Atlantic, as he wanted to use the title The Roaring Forties for a new, bigger work inspired by the storm experienced during their 1907 voyage home. 

Some credit the Australian-born Hayley Lever, with whom Waugh shared a studio fronting the harbour beach in St Ives, for encouraging him to concentrate on pure seascapes.  Apparently, one day, Lever looked long and hard at a painting by Waugh of boats beached on the sand, a subject that he was fond of depicting himself, before commenting, “Let’s make a bargain.  I’ll take the boats.  You stick to the sea.”  Another American then in St Ives who may have influenced him was Elmer Schofield.  Certainly, Waugh and he became great friends, Waugh later recounting how the two of them took delight in pedalling their bicycles vigorously in mad circles among the easels and paintings crowding their respective studios.  Another drawing in the Syracuse University collection, entitled Night, looking from studio window at inner pier, is dated 14th July 1906, and indicates that his studio was directly opposite the light on the West Pier - the full length of the pier being depicted as a horizontal object.

Waugh seems to have worked in Cornwall for quite some time during 1906, with many paintings clearly being of St Ives Bay or the coast nearby.  A number were moonlight scenes and it is likely that Moonlight and Evening, his two exhibits at the Pennsylvania Academy that year, were Cornish scenes. The Ulrich Collection contains two other works dated 1906.  Surf on Porthmeor Beach is an extraordinary scene as the water between the breakers is turned a vivid yellow by the final rays of the setting sun.  Very different, but one of the best of his St Ives street scenes, is Winter, St Ives, which depicts, in a loose, impressionist manner, that rare event - St Ives carpeted by snow. 

Fired with enthusiasm for his new found speciality, Waugh submitted two seascapes (titles unknown) to the RA in 1907, which he rated his best work to date.  Stunned by their rejection, he immediately considered returning to America.  Such a decision was by no means an easy one, as he had spent some fifteen years successfully building up his reputation in England and he enjoyed a steady income from his work as an illustrator.  On the other hand, he had not exhibited with any great regularity in his home country and so would need time to get his name known there.  However, given his age, now 46, if he did ultimately want to enjoy renown in the country of his birth, he needed to launch his career there sooner rather than later.  With Gene’s full backing and with his renewed confidence in his abilities, the decision was made.  However, the lease on his London property did not expire until November, and so he spent the last few months of his time in England working feverishly away in St Ives, capturing for one last time the magic of the Cornish coast.  His ledger records a whole succession of works -  Near St Ives, Cornwall, (which was exhibited at the RWA in 1907), A Bit of Cornish Coast (which may be the view of Lamorna quay from the quarry, which was donated to the College Club of Pittsburgh in 1908 by its first President, Mrs Reed Thompson), Westerly Gale, St Ives, Under the Full Moon (Ulrich Collection), The Reef, The White Wave, Cumuli in Moonlight, Moonlight at Sea, Thunder Heads, Surf on a Rocky Coast, A Heavy Sea and A Nor’wester.  He does not list one of his most famous Cornish paintings, South-Westerly Gale, St Ives (30” x 50”), which was bought by George Hearn and donated to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, which perhaps indicates that this consummate seascape, with its pounding breakers, churning waters and flying spray, was worked up from the smaller Westerly Gale, St Ives (30” x 40”) upon his return to America. 

The debt that Waugh owed to his time in St Ives is recognised by his biographer, George Havens, who had the opportunity of seeing a large selection of Waugh’s Cornish works.  “Little by little, in the sketches which have come down from these days at St Ives, the picturesque properties from the waterfront disappear.  At first, there are ships on the remote horizon.  Then they go.  The gentle beaches and the quiet sea pools - gone too.  Last to vanish were the sea gulls.  For a few years they continue to wheel around in Waugh’s paintings, though in smaller and smaller groups.  Then they also are gone, never to return.  What is left in the end, is his own true subject, water, wave, and rock, in all their austere power and majesty.”  Havens also recognises the influence of Julius Olsson.  Albeit that there is no mention of Waugh studying under Olsson or of any acknowledgement by Waugh that the big man was an influence, Olsson dominated marine painting in St Ives and, during the period 1905-7, produced some of his finest work.  What is more, the style that Waugh developed is the closest to Olsson’s of all the artists that passed through St Ives.  His concentration on pure seascapes, with a fondness for capturing the impact of surf pounding on to rocky coastlines, meant that his subject matter was very similar to that of Olsson and his highly coloured, romanticised depictions of the myriad effects of sunlight and moonlight upon foaming waves found equal favour.

On their voyage home, the Waughs experienced a tremendous gale.  Whilst this caused misery to most passengers, Seaton Schmidt, a magazine writer, recorded Waugh’s reaction. 

“My curiosity had been excited during a tremendous storm by seeing a tall, slender man lashed to the mast, painting steadily on, despite the blinding spray and wild lurching of the vessel.  The storm lasted three days, yet he only forsook his post when the bugle sounded for dinner.  Completely drenched, he would dash down to his cabin, and half an hour later quietly take his place in the dining salon.”

Waugh’s widow and son, when later talking to his biographer, George Havens, felt the story was a little over-egged, but, nevertheless, Waugh was so struck by what he had witnessed and sketched that, as soon as the boat arrived in New York, he sought out some space in a warehouse where he could paint the scene whilst it was still at the forefront of his mind.  The resultant work he entitled The Roaring Forties.

In the period immediately before and after his return to America, Waugh exhibited at the National Academy, Mid-Atlantic and The Lesser Light in 1907, and Coast near St Ives and Moonlit Surf and, at the winter show, Sark and At the Base of the Cliff, in 1908.  In Chicago, he exhibited Surf on the Cornish Coast, A Nor’wester and Thunder of the Surf in 1907 and Moonlit Surf and The Roaring Forties the following year.  In Pittsburgh, he showed Surf and Cumuli under Moonlight and The Roaring Forties in 1908 and The Reef in 1909.  At the Pennsylvania Academy, he showed Afterglow and Cloud-Swept Moonlight in 1907, Coast near St Ives, Moonlit Surf and Under the Full Moon in 1908, and The Thunder of the Surf and The Roaring Forties in 1909. During the latter exhibition, Henry Snell was very impressed with Waugh’s two paintings, despite them being poorly hung in narrow corridors, and mentioned them to well-known New York collector, George Hearn.  As a result, Hearn visited the show and bought The Roaring Forties for the reduced price of $1000, on the basis that he would present it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which he was a Trustee.  That year, William T.Evans, a wealthy businessman, who, at the time, was providing Waugh with a studio, also gave the magnificent South-Westerly Gale, St Ives, dated 1907 but never exhibited, to the Smithsonian Institution.  Such accolades made Waugh’s name as a marine painter in his home nation.  He became an Associate of the National Academy in 1909 and an Academician in 1911.

Whilst Waugh did produce in 1910 a huge painting of a pirate attack, The Buccaneers, and, in 1912, an even larger depiction of Sir Galahad in The Knight of the Holy Grail, both of which were highly regarded and sold well, he came more and more to concentrate on the subject that he truly loved - the sea and, for the rest of his career, he produced a constant supply of paintings of rocky coastlines savaged or caressed by ocean waves. 

The Waughs, on their return, settled initially for the years 1908-1915 in and around Montclair, New Jersey, where Waugh was involved with William T Evans in setting up the Montclair Art Museum.  He had further spells painting on Bailey Island in the summers of 1908 and 1909, at Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1910 and on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine from 1911-1914. The Waugh painting at the National Trust property Ightham Mote, Sixty Fathoms : Heavy Surf, Maine, which is presumably that exhibited at the National Academy as Surf in Sixty Fathoms in 1915, dates from this period.

In November 1910, in the last issue of a short-lived magazine Palette and Bench, Waugh wrote some notes on “Sea Painting”.  In these, he commented, “No doubt the sea is a difficult subject.  To paint it convincingly means long, careful observation of its many phases and its anatomy, for the sea has anatomy.”  He then gave an example of what he meant.  “When a green comber turns over and breaks into white foam at its base, you may at once be sure that such a wave is breaking in shallow water.  But when it turns over and breaks near its summit and the foam slides down behind it and the great monster swell comes at you unbroken again, you know there is deep water underneath.”  He indicated that painting on the spot could be very confusing, for one was initially tempted to paint every sort of wave which came.  However, he recommended concentrating on the attributes of the phase that one found most attractive.  After constant and meticulous observation of repeated wave patterns, an artist could learn to paint from memory.  He also felt that the ever-changing subtleties of the colour of the sea could be learnt in this way by careful study.  When asked in 1934 about his methods, he reiterated what he had said in the 1910 article,

“I spend part of each year studying the sea.  I both paint it and watch it carefully..  In that way I fix certain forms clearly in my memory and learn the why and how of the grand old ocean.  I have acquired the habit of constant observation.  If you really love nature, she will love you and teach you.”

Whilst always with a group of sketches done on the spot to hand, Waugh preferred to work up his compositions in his studio without being tied down by the actualities of locales.  He aimed instead to capture a mood, through an effect of light or of atmosphere or of storm, which he had witnessed.  The foreground rock formations, which he invariably incorporated, were there for compositional reasons and might be drawn from rock strata witnessed in Sark, Cornwall or Maine, for, in later life, he lived quite a distance from a rocky coast.  As a result, as has been seen already, very few of the titles of his paintings give any hint as to locale and, as the given titles have also often been lost, there are a vast number of paintings by Waugh that appear on the market, which are very difficult to date, let alone place conclusively as Cornish or American subjects. 

In 1915, the Waughs, keen to get away from the bustle of suburbia, settled in Kent, Connecticut, where they bought and lovingly restored an old colonial property set amidst rolling green hills, despite the location being far from the sea.  Both children were now studying at the Arts Students League in New York, some eighty miles away.  For a while during the War, Fred got involved with dazzle painting warships, linking up with Olsson student Norman Wilkinson, the inventor of the concept, whom he may well have met previously in St Ives.

Whilst it was accepted that visits to the Maine coast each year would be necessary to ensure that Waugh’s seascapes maintained spontaneity, he became rather bored with the sombre greys of that coast, and derived particular inspiration from a visit to the British West Indies in 1920, where he was astounded by the far greater range of colours in rocks and sea.    In 1922, he also found new inspiration whilst sailing with a friend along the coast of British Columbia, where he saw wooded slopes of deep fjords, polar bears and massive glaciers tumbling into the sea. 

With their children both settled in the old seaport of Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the Waughs did spend time there during the winters from 1923 and eventually decided to settle there in 1927.  This was Fred’s last home.  Whilst the sea was now close, there were no rocky headlands for many miles, but this no longer mattered.  Waugh soon built himself a fine studio and was not too inconvenienced by the Wall Street Crash and the economic depression that followed.  His works still sold, albeit for a while at reduced prices.  However, as the 1930s progressed, he found it difficult to keep up with the demand for his work and, between 1934 and 1938, he had the extraordinary, and unique, accolade of winning the Popular Prize at Pittsburgh for five consecutive years.  Of course, his type of realism was now out of fashion with the art establishment and he was accused in some quarters of churning out repetitious subject matter, but his popularity with the middle-class picture buying public never waned.  Even Waugh himself was a little embarrassed by the time that he won the award for the fifth consecutive time and, on occasion, indicated that he wearied of his dealers’ constant demands for more marine paintings, and was annoyed at their refusal to consider promoting any of the work that he occasionally did in different genres. 

Waugh suffered a number of health problems, which impacted on his output from 1937.  At one stage, he thought that it would be easier to work in watercolour for a while.  He told his dealer at Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, in May 1940, that he wanted “to see whether I can make watercolors go in seascapes.  I think I can because I have done it already in the past; and I have a technique of my own.  Lead pencil first and flattish tints as overtones.  Some of my St Ives watercolors are my best.  But these were all sketches from nature.”  However, he did not recover sufficiently to try and died on 10th September 1940, just a few days before his 79th birthday.  A memorial exhibition was held in Grand Central Galleries in 1943.  It is estimated that he painted during his life over 2,500 seascapes. 

The largest collection of works by Waugh was put together by Edwin A Ulrich, who, at the age of 11, in 1911, had been transfixed by Waugh’s painting Evening, Coast of Maine at Montclair Art Museum.  Having worked for a number of years for the the Cuban-American Sugar Company, he set up the Dutchess Oil Corp, which distributed petroleum products, and which was very successful until he sold out in 1956.  He began collecting Waughs in the early 1950s, his first major purchase being the huge oil at Montclair Art Museum, now deemed to be taking up too much storage space, and he was also able to make purchases off the Art Institute of Chicago, where again the work was deemed inconvenient to store due to its size, and the Carnegie Institute.  In the latter case, this was Pounding Surf, the 1938 winner of the Popular Prize, which Waugh had donated to the Institute.   He ended up acquiring over 350 works as well as scraps from his studio.  In his pursuit of Waughs, he came over to Europe, following in Waugh’s footsteps, and was amazed to find in St Ives, the place where Waugh derived his initial inspiration, that there were no Waughs at all.  In the 1960s, he set up a gallery in a large barn on his property at Hyde Park, New York, but, in 1974, he donated his collection to Wichita State University and funded the construction of the Ulrich Museum of Art there.  He continued to be a generous benefactor until his death aged 97.

In addition to the publiicity generated by Ulrich and the Havens biography in 1969, South-Westerly Gale, St Ives has spent many decades on loan to the White House, during the Presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, who all admired the painting immensely.  There is also a painting entitled Sunset on Cornwall Cliffs at the Georgia Museum of Art, resulting from a donation in 1943.

Throughout his life, Waugh also had pretensions as an author of children’s books.  The only one that he got published was The Clan of Munes (1916).  This had been inspired by the strange tree growth that he saw on Monhegan Island, which he felt had the appearance of strange little men.  Many of his obituaries mentioned that he had written a number of Jules Verne type children’s stories in his final few years, which he had fervently wanted to have published, but had been unable to find a publisher.


What a story this is - St Ives is the key inspiration for America's greatest marine painter of his generation - and yet current day St Ives is blissfully unaware of its role and Waugh is unknown in Cornwall.  In order to ensure that Waugh gets some exposure in Cornwall, I have donated his 1907 work A Cornish Cove, featuring Lamorna,to Penlee House Gallery, Penzance.



Paul Dougherty NA (1877-1947)

If Frederick Waugh had a challenger to assume Winslow Homer’s crown as America’s leading marine painter, then it was Paul Dougherty and he too derived much of his early inspiration as a marine painter from the coast of Cornwall. Indeed, it may well have been Waugh’s paintings of the Cornish coast that first prompted Dougherty to pay a visit.

The son of a distinguished lawyer, Dougherty was born in Brooklyn, New York and himself gained a degree from the New York Law School in 1898.  However, he showed an aptitude for art from a young age. He later commented, “I began to paint - I think - because it was my natural language”.  Whilst undergoing his law studies, he, therefore, also took some training in perspective and form under Constantin Hertzberg and first exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1895.  He soon abandoned law for painting and, in 1900, he left for Europe, spending the next five years in Paris, London, Florence, Venice and Munich.  He made a policy of not studying under any particular artist, as he considered that technical teaching removed freshness and spontaneity, and so he preferred to work on his own, making his own assessments of the Old Masters and of the paintings of his contemporaries.  On his return to New York, he created a sensation at the National Academy of Design in 1906 with his work The Land and the Sea, which was immediately bought by the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, and he was made an Associate of the National Academy of Design that very year and an Academician the following one.  He also held a critically acclaimed exhibition at the Macbeth Gallery in New York in early 1907.  In June that year, he married, for the second time, Marthe Wisner, a concert pianist, his first wife, Anna, having died in 1903, leaving him with a young daughter to bring up. 

Dougherty appears to have visited Cornwall on an annual basis for the best part of a decade, but it has proved difficult to determine precisely when he made his first trip.  I have found nothing to indicate that any of the twenty paintings shown at Macbeth Galleries in 1907 were Cornish subjects, but their titles give no indication of location.  The first dated works, known to be of Cornwall, are from 1908.  Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio have a painting Moonlit Cove dated that year, a representation of the imposing cliffs at Zennor lit by the moon, whilst his diploma painting at the National Academy of Design, also from 1908, Evening on the Cliffs, shows much the same vista under the dying rays of the evening sun.  In each case, the light, coming from one principal direction, throws strong shadows over the cliffs, highlighting rock structures that would have escaped notice in the glare of full sunlight.  In November 1908, he was the subject of an in-depth article in the International Studio.  The author, Edwin A Rockwell, commented, “As to aims and methods, Mr Dougherty has no theories, expressed or implied.  In his sketches, he is guided by the ‘big facts’, as he says;  in his studio, these facts are developed.” Certainly, his sketches are bold, colourful, vigorous impressionist studies.  These, though, are very different to the highly finished end product, as Rockwell confirms.  “Besides grasping great truths of sea and shore, he presents these truths with suavity and beauty of technique.  Mere surface does not content him.  He would, in rock representation, show compactness and texture so clearly that its geological history may be read by a scientist.  He would, in ocean, convey a profound impression of its depth, its latent cruelty and its almost resistless and rhythmic power of wave.”  He concluded “his gamut of tones is wider, stronger and clearer than that of any other marine painter and it may confidentally be expected that, ere long, he will be acclaimed the best painter of the true marine in America.”  Such words proved prophetic.

Dougherty clearly spent some considerable time in Cornwall in 1909 as, in February 1910, he held a further one-man show of sixteen marine paintings at Macbeth Galleries in New York, all of which were said to have been “painted on the southwest coast of England during the summer”.  The review does not mention any works by name, but an exhibition in 1978-9 contained a number of Cornish scenes dated 1909, including Rock Beach under the Cliff, Cornwall. In 1910-11, Dougherty was again based in St Ives for many months, for he contributed to the fund for the families bereaved when the gig, Lily and John, foundered in November 1910, and to the Coronation Celebration fund in July 1911.  In 1911, he exhibited in Pittsburgh Zennor Head, Cornwall and Land’s End. The following year, both his submissions - The Cove and A Freshening Gale - are also likely to be Cornish subjects; in any event, they both won prizes and he was awarded the silver medal.  The latter work is now owned by Buffalo Fine Art Museum, who held a one-man show of his work in 1912.  The Gallery’s Academy Notes commented, “Nature has withheld no moods, not the most intimate, from this lover of the sea...He has used his convey to you the rapture of his own impression of the spell of the moment.  I doubt, if you follow his work, that you will miss one ecstasy which has flooded his heart out on the fierce rockbound coast of Cornwall.” 

Cornish works continued to feature strongly in the pre-War years.  His exhibits at Philadelphia included Carthew Beach (1911), Pentire Head (1912) and Mullion Cove (1913), whilst, in 1913, he also won the Inness Gold Medal at the National Academy of Design with Rock Channels, a Cornish scene.  In its commentary on this work, The Craftsman indicates that Cornish subjects dominated his output of this period. “Paul Dougherty in his Rock Channels shows us that he understands the placid beauty of undisturbed blue waters as well as the splendour and terror of Cornish storms, and he makes us wish always that he would paint some of the wild or the gentle scenes of our own coast.” 

He was back in St Ives in 1913 as well, for Alfred Munnings chanced upon him at Zennor again.  He records in his autobiography, “On a late afternoon, he [the sculptor, Leonard Jennings] and I were riding along near the edge of the tall cliffs west of Zennor, when we saw a rare thing for those days - a waiting motor-car.  Coming up from the track below, out of “the roar of the sea”, as one might say, was an artist, with a chauffeur behind him helping him to carry his things.  I ventured to have a word with him and discovered that he was the famous American marine painter, Dogherty [sic].  It was a strange coincidence that I should meet this much-talked-of man, then staying at the hotel in St Ives, who was painting the rocks and surf of the Cornish coast.  Long afterwards, when in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, I stood in front of one of those very pictures of the Cornish coast by Dogherty.  No wonder it was hanging in this honoured position.  It was one of the best representations of boiling white surf around rocks, making patterns of jade-greens and grey, that one could ever wish to see.  Such a picture could only have been done on the spot, even within reach of the spray.  Dogherty was a strongly-built fellow, and watching them come up the cliff, one felt that he loved the sea and had the genius and the physical strength to contend with the situation hundreds of feet below on the wet rock where he had planted his easel.  There was something about this picture in the Metropolitan which could never have been achieved within the four walls of any studio.  Nature had been his inspiration - he had a swift, sure hand and the seeing eye.”  This work was likely to have been October Seas, dated 1910, which is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

The local paper records his presence in St Ives, yet again, in July 1914, and his original intention that this should be a lengthy sojourn is suggested by the fact that his wife, Marthe (listed as Matilda), became a ratepayer for one of the Piazza Studios that year.  However, it was around this time that the Doughertys’ marriage seems to have come to an end, with Marthe going off with her grand piano to St Petersburg to study and Paul returning to New York. 

In June 1914, a painting Spray and Sunlight of St Ives was highly regarded at the Knoedler’s Summer Exhibition of Paintings in New York.  Later in 1914, Paul was allotted the Room of Honour at the Pittsburgh exhibition, in which twenty-seven of his marines were hung.  Only two titles - Botallack Cove and St Ives - indicate a Cornish subject, but the reviews demonstrate that many of the works were, in fact, depictions of the Cornish coast.  American Art News commented, “It is a joyous display indeed, and a varied one, with its fine and truthful depictions of the thunderous long Atlantic swells rushing towards and breaking on the rich, brown cliffs of the Cornish coast, in sunlight and under gray skies and mist.”

At the same time, though, Dougherty, in his sketches, was experimenting with colour in a progressive manner. “What a variety of impressions as well as facts those sketches reveal!”, commented one critic, “Rocks of dazzling structure, of bewildering hues, rocks that look like rotten fruit, others that look like jewels, rocks that have fallen from the stars, others that have been swept out of the depths of the sea, rocks half-buried like a sphinx in the sands, others that have risen in granite strata from the bowls of the earth iron-eaten, moss-covered, rose tinted, variegated rocks, the artist takes note of them all in their isolation as well as their relation to the surf and under the action of the waves.”

In 1915, he had one-man exhibitions at the Portland Society of Artists and the University of Rochester Memorial Gallery, and these again included a number of Cornish subjects.  He also won a gold medal that year at the Panama-Pacific Exposition at San Francisco.  A 1916 exhibit at Philadelphia was  recorded as October Morning on Zennor Highland.  In 1918, Botallack Cove won an award at the National Academy of Design and Sunlight, Passing Storm, St Ives was illustrated in the July edition of The American Magazine of Art.

Like Frederick Waugh, therefore, Dougherty made his initial breakthrough into his home market with his paintings of the Cornish coast, and then went on to become hailed as a leading American marine artist.  Although clearly based in St Ives for significant periods, I have found little evidence of any great involvement with the artistic community in the town.  He certainly knew Schofield - they became full Academicians in the same year - and they were later close friends, with Schofield working in his Paris studio in November 1909 and spending time with him in Moret-sur-Loing.   Perhaps, his greatest friend in the town was Will Lloyd, whom he may have linked up with as his mother, Frances Powell Lloyd, was the daughter of the American portrait and history painter, William Henry Powell.  In any event, in 1913, Dougherty was accompanied by Will Lloyd, then Secretary of the Arts Club, on a trip to Switzerland, when they climbed various peaks, including the Matterhorn. As a result, the Lloyd family have two sketches by Dougherty - one of the Matterhorn and one of the Cornish coast - and several of his Swiss works were included in his Pittsburgh submissions in 1914. 

Unfortunately, again like Waugh, it is often impossible to be certain whether a Dougherty painting is, or is not, of the Cornish coast.  His titles, even if known, often do not assist and his concentration on close-ups of waves crashing on to rocks provides little in the way of other identification aids, except perhaps to an experienced geologist.  This is a shame, as he is a very fine painter, whose work should be held in Cornish Art Galleries.  However, Coast of Cornwall, near St Ives is now owned by the University of Rochester Memorial Gallery, whilst Foam Lace, a superb depiction of the prismatic effects of sunlight refracted through fine sea spray, is owned by the Akron Art Museum, Ohio.  Writing to Edwin C Shaw, its original purchaser in 1917, Dougherty confirmed that the vista was of Sennen Cove, although it did not pretend to any geographical accuracy, and commented, “I painted the picture Foam Lace some years ago.  I have worked over it from time to time and kept it by me because it is one of my favorites.”

A few other Cornish works by Dougherty have appeared at auction in recent years.  One of the most interesting was a rough sketch in wild colours of St Ives from Pednolva Rocks, albeit Bonhams, Los Angeles managed to describe it as of Land’s End!  The Twisted Ledge, one of his NA exhibits of 1907, was sold at Bonhams, San Francisco in November 2011 for $47,500.  Another work that sold well, for $36,600, was a 1911 painting, entitled Sunlight and Surf, which was exhibited in Philadelphia in 1916.  A further large painting with this title also sold for $24,400.  In order to ensure that Dougherty is represented in a British public collection, I have donated Summer Day, Cornish Coast, which features Cape Cornwall and which was one of the exhibits in his 1914 Pittsburgh exhibition, to Penlee House Gallery, Penzance.


Guy Carleton Wiggins NA (1883-1962)

As a boy, Guy Wiggins accompanied his father, John, to St Ives in 1895-7 but, as he was sent to boarding school, his presence is not recorded as much as his two sisters, Grace and May, who are signed into the Arts Club and took part in various entertainments put on by the artists.  In fact, his education must have been quite disturbed during his father’s European travels in the 1890s.  Naturally, he first studied art under his father and then, in c.1900, studied architecture and drawing at the Brooklyn Institute.  However, he subsequently decided to concentrate on painting and trained at the NA under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri.  He enjoyed early success when, in 1912, one of his paintings was bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

He returned to St Ives in 1914, where he met his wife, Dorothy Stuart Johnson, an English girl who was also visiting the town.  It is likely that his 1914 NA exhibit, The Harbor Light, is a St Ives scene and this was also shown in Chicago and Philadelphia in 1915.  Also, in 1915, a work St Ives Fishing Fleet was exhibited at the 12th Annual Art Exhibition of the University of Kansas, whilst his 1916 NA exhibit The Old Pier may also be a St Ives subject.  Several other paintings of St Ives by Guy Wiggins demonstrating his bright palette and lively brushwork have passed through the auction rooms, the best of which is Fresh Breezes, and some smaller works are retained by his descendants.  It has been said about his art, “his resolution was to constantly emphasize colour, elevating it above all else and achieving luminosity through it..” 

On his return to America on the outbreak of War, Guy won innumerable awards from the Salmagundi Club, the Rhode Island School of Design and other institutions and was made a full member of the NA in 1919.  During the 1920s, he earned a significant reputation for his city snow scenes, often painted from the windows of offices in Manhattan.  In 1927, he paid a return visit to England, painting both in Cornwall and in Staithes.  In 1937, he moved to Essex, Connecticut and founded the Guy Wiggins Art School.  He died on vacation in Florida but is buried at Old Lyme, where he maintained a summer home from 1917.  He is represented in numerous American public collections and two works hang in The White House.  His son, Guy A Wiggins, has also pursued a successful artistic career.

In 1979, the New Britain Museum of Art held an exhibition Three Generations Wiggins, which included St Ives, England, hailed as an “outstanding piece” (now owned by the Whistler House Museum) and two paintings done in Europe when he was aged 8.


Henry Bayley Snell  (1858-1943)
Florence Aimee Francis Snell (1852-1946)

Henry Snell was a highly regarded ‘American’ artist and art teacher, who visited Cornwall regularly in the decade prior to 1914, often with groups of students, for he ran regular summer art camps in both America and Europe.  However, he had been born in Richmond, England and only emigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen.  He studied at the Arts Students League in New York at various junctures between 1882 and 1890.  Whilst there, he fell in love with his first cousin, Florence Aimee Francis, who had been born in London, and who studied at the League from 1882 until 1883, and then again from 1885 to 1886. They married in 1888.  A watercolour, Low Tide - Cornish Coast, exhibited at Philadelphia in 1890 indicates an early visit to the Duchy. It is possible, therefore, that the Mr and Mrs Snell, who stayed at the Tregenna Castle Hotel for a month from the last week in July 1891 are Henry and Florence.

An eminent landscape and marine painter, Henry won several leading awards and was elected on to the selection jury at the National Academy of Design on numerous occasions.  He was also President of the New York Water Color Club.  However, in addition, he was very influential as an instructor at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, where he taught from 1899 to 1943.  Cornish scenes feature in his exhibits in America repeatedly from 1904, with Polperro a favourite destination initially. In 1909, he is recorded as running a summer class in St Ives and exhibited The Island, St Ives at the National Academy in 1910.  He also showed House of the Rocks, St Ives (w-c, Chicago 1912) and At St Ives  (American Watercolor Society 1913), whilst Florence, who was awarded in 1913 the MacMillan landscape prize from the Association of Women Painters and Sculptors in New York, exhibited Grocer’s Shop, St Ives and The Greengrocer’s, St Ives (w-cs, Chicago 1913) Quay Street, St Ives and Zennor Churchtown (NA 1915).

In 1914, Snell and his wife came to St Ives again, but this time with a large party of students in a trip organised by Maurice Boyd of Boyd Tours.  The advert in Arts and Decoration in February that year was headed “Snell Summer Art Class at St Ives, England’.  The party were due to leave New York on June 19th and return on 9th September and the trip was to include “eight weeks’ instruction, including outdoor sketching, still life and composition either in oil or water color as may be selected”.  In addition, there would be one week in London to enable students to visit the Galleries there.  For those not able to commit to such a long period, there was to be a later class, leaving New York on 2nd July and joining up with the others in St Ives on 12th July.

The initial party numbered over twenty and sketches by one student, Dixie Selden, suggest that they stopped briefly en route from London at Lyme Regis and Polperro.  In St Ives, they lodged at the Trenwith Hotel.  The Visitors’ Lists in the Western Echo confirm the party to comprise Mr and Mrs Snell, Mrs Read, Miss Kohn, Mr Strauss, Miss Chamberlain, Mrs Foster, Mrs and Miss Woolcott, Miss Jones, Miss Clark, Miss Houman, Mrs Lockwood, Miss Gardener, Mrs and Miss Howell, Miss Selden, Miss Mendenhall, and Miss Valentine, all of whom were still there on 22/8/1914.  Other guests, Miss Pritchard, Mrs and Miss Liddell and the Misses Peace may have been part of the original party, who left early, whilst later guests at Trenwith House, namely, Mrs Wright, Miss Breen, Mr and Mrs Haines, Mrs Riley, Miss McCord, Mr Armstrong, Mrs and Miss Lillingston, Miss Smith and Mrs Morday and family are likely to include some of the later class who set off from New York on 2nd July.

Known to his students as “Uncle Harry”, Snell delighted them with his merry warmth and casual instruction, always coupled with constructive criticism.  Among the students were Felicie Waldo Mixter Howell (1897-1968), who herself became a teacher at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art, Dixie Selden (1868-1935), from Cincinnati, who became a well-known Impressionist, and her long-term companion, Emma Mendenhall (1873-1964), also from Cincinnati.  Selden, in particular, produced some interesting depictions of the town.  Miss McCord is Mary Nicholena McCord, who exhibited some of her sketches at the American Water Color Society, as did Mitteldorfer Strauss, whilst Miss Valentine is likely to be Jane Valentine (1866-1934), who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy. Miss Kohn is Irma Kohn (later Coen) (1883-1975), from Illinois, who later settled in New Mexico.  Marcella Smith (1887-1963), an old student of Snell, who was then working in Paris, seems to have joined the party for a while. 

Whilst the trip was scheduled to last until 9th September, the anxieties caused by the outbreak of War led to it being terminated early during the week commencing 22nd August.  Dixie Selden, one of his students, commented,

“Everybody is in a demoralised state of mind on account of the war and Mr Foster, the manager, has gone to London to see about steamers for those who want to go home now or soon.  Even this little town is feeling it, as a seond lot of men went off to war today.  Our poor little laundress is one of those left to grind alone.  One of the most impressive sights that I have ever witnessed was this little town Saturday and Monday.  Everybody was reading the hourly bulletins and everywhere there were groups of serious-faced men reading papers.  It was so quiet that it was oppressive.  Mr and Mrs Snell are terribly depressed for Mrs Reid, Mr Snell’s sister, is the wife of a major in the British army, stationed in India.  He was to have started for England next week, but now she can get no mail from him.  Yesterday there was a panic about food supplies giving out, but that has been quieted by the papers.  The banks are all closed and no-one will cash even express money orders.  Letters of credit will not be considered for some time.”

Snell, as a juror for the American Watercolor Society in the winter of 1914-5, ensured that a number of his students were represented in that show, as it contained four St Ives watercolours by Mendenhall, Windy Day, St Ives by Felicie Howell, three works by Mary McCord, two works by Mitteldorfer Strauss and three paintings of Polperro by Grace Adelaide Reed.

Apart from another depiction of Polperro, shown in 1915, which probably resulted from this trip, Snell’s further exhibits do not suggest any additional Cornish visits.  His painting Silvery Morning, of St Ives harbour, was acquired by the National Arts Club, New York.

A number of St Ives subjects by Snell have come up at auction in recent years, and he seems to have been particularly attracted to the harbour at low tide, when men were working on their boats and mooring chains and ropes provided decorative patterns over the sand. Two paintings, one of which is owned by the Philadelphia School, show a large steamer up against Smeaton’s Pier.  A coastal scene, Near St Ives, is owned by North Carolina Museum of Art, and several unidentified rocky coastal scenes of no great merit might also be Cornish. Indeed, one feels that, for an artist of his standing, the quality of his work is rather mediocre.


Snell students from 1914


For a full account of the careers of Dixie Selden and Emma Mendenhall, see my article in The Siren Issue No 13


For a full account of the career of Irma Kohn (later Coen), see my article in The Siren  Issue No 14



William Chadwick  (1879-1962)

Chadwick was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, where his father was a textile manufacturer, specialising in the production of woollen plush, a textile with a longer and softer nap than velvet.  The fabric was particularly popular in America and, because of onerous tariffs, it was decided in 1882 to move all the factory equipment and more than seventy employees out to Holyoke in America.  William was just three at this time and so was brought up in America.  He studied at the Art Students League between 1898 and 1903 and began exhibiting at the NA in 1907.  He made several visits to Europe and it was in September 1914 that Chadwick and his wife took a house in St Ives.  He was first signed into the Arts Club by Fred Milner in November and joined that month.  Two delightful oil paintings of boats in St Ives harbour, entitled Red Sails, St Ives, Cornwall, were included in an exhibition, William Chadwick - An American Impressionist, held at R H Love Galleries Inc in 1978.  A further painting of the harbour has also appeared at auction.  For the illustrated edition of the St Ives Times on 18th December 1914, Chadwick contributed a caricature Presents from the Allies, showing a German soldier on crutches, with one arm in a sling and bandaged all over.

Chadwick appears to have stayed in the colony until March 1915, when all hope of an early resolution to the conflict had dissipated.  On his return to America, he  became a member of the Old Lyme art colony in Connecticut, where he painted with Childe Hassam, Charles Ebert and Chauncey Ryder, as well as fellow St Ives visitors John and Guy Wiggins and Wilson Irvine, and his work is well-represented in the collection of the Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme.  In fact, in 1994, his studio was reconstructed in the grounds of the Museum.


William Francis Ver Beck  (1858-1933)

Frank Ver Beck was an  American illustrator, who arrived in St Ives, with his wife, Hanna Rion (q.v.) and his step-daughter, Theresa Abell, in 1913.  The choice of St Ives may well have been due to the desire of Theresa to study in the town. 

Ver Beck was the son of Bentley Benedict Ver Beck, a shoemaker, and was born in Richland Township, Belmont County, Ohio and raised near Mansfield, Richland.  He received early instruction in drawing and wood engraving in Mansfield from Robert R. (‘Rail Road’) Smith, and was working there as a wood engraver in 1880.  In 1881-2, he went to New York for further study and found work as an illustrator with magazines such as Scribner’s, Ladies Home Journal and Collier’s.  He was best known as an illustrator of children’s books, usually with a humorous bent, and his work was included in titles such as The Dumpies (A B Paine - 1897), Donegal Fairy Stories (ed. Seamus MacManus - 1900), The Surprising Adventures of the Magical Monarch of Mo (L Baum - 1903) and Told by Uncle Remus (J C Harris -1905). However, the turning point in his career was the publication in 1906 of Ver Beck’s Book of Bears and he became very well-known for his comic depictions of animated teddy bears.  In fact, he was described by the local paper as “the originator of the Teddy Bear”.

The Ver Becks are first mentioned in a St Ives context in an article in the St Ives Times in early November 1913, in which it is stated that they “have been working here since last midsummer”, which presumably means that of 1913.  They appear to have come across from the States to do some European sightseeeing.  Hanna went off on her own at one juncture, as postcards from her, signed ‘Kitty’, in 1913 are addressed to Frank at 8, Serjeants Inn in London, and then, in November 1913, Frank and Hanna went off on a trip up the Rhine, leaving Theresa behind at Shore Studio.  She is recorded as a student monthly member of the Arts Club in January 1914.  It was only in November that year that Frank himself became a member, with Theresa herself becoming a full member at the same time. 

During his time in England, Frank continued to write and illustrate his own children’s stories, examples being Piggywiggen - A Little Pig Who Went to Market, The Elephant Child and The Donkey Child.   The latter two seem to be from a series of Little Black Sambo titles that he did about the adventures of African-American boys, which may now be considered of dubious political correctness.  On Show Day in 1916, he exhibited some comic illustrations of turtles, which were intended for a book called, as indicated by a photograph of the projected cover taken by John Douglas, The Amazing Adventures of Timothy Turtle, but this was eventually published as Timothy Turtle’s Great Day.  It featured a turtle and a bullfrog, who dress up in the costumes of dolls - one a squire and the other a corporal.  Ver Beck also exhibited some humorous sketches of bears, which were probably incorporated in a book published the following year entitled Ver Beck’s Bears in Mother Gooseland.  This was a work to which his wife contributed as well, as a subtitle records “The New Lines by Hanna Rion, The Old Lines by Mother Goose herself”.  The critic commented, “It is difficult to say at what age children would cease to admire these quaint studies - methinks they would last as long as a person’s sense of humour”. 

Another project that he worked upon in St Ives was a book called The Little Cat Who Journeyed to St Ives, about the adventures in St Ives of the tom-cat, Tanky Tunk.  In 2003, ten illustrations for this book were sold at Skinner Inc, Boston.  The frontispiece was based on a photo of St Ives taken from Porthminster Point, with a border of cats drawn round it and the title decoration superimposed.  Other illustrations featured Tanky being attacked by geese and at the helm of a boat with an owl in the bows.  The book appears to have been published in 1921, but it is very rare.

With many of the artists having children of their own, Ver Beck’s publications were appreciated in the colony, but it is likely to have been his dry humour at social gatherings that made him friends.  He certainly seems to have mixed well with other artists, whilst in St Ives.  He sat for two portraits by Frances Hodgkins and Ruth Simpson, the latter, now in the Royal Cornwall Museum, revealing a distinguished countenance, with round glasses and grey hair, and showing him in a blue painting smock, clutching a cigarette.  Hodgkins’ portrait has not been located, but, in a letter to her mother, dated 10th January 1916, she comments, “Another portrait I am on is a lamplight effect of Mr Ver Beck, an American, who writes Teddy Bear stories, in fact is the originator of Teddy in all his pristine plainness. Mr V. B. has a strong kind ugly face, not unlike a Bear, good to paint. He & his wife, very picturesque woman, live close by in a studio called The Den. They are my only neighbours lately installed, & make it much less lonely & dull for me. I have send Joan a copy of one of his funny little fool stories wh[ich] I w[ou]ld have loved at her age…”  This portrait was highly rated by Edgar Skinner, when it was exhibited on Show Day in 1916.

One might imagine that an artist of his ilk would have indulged in caricature from time to time and two pen and ink sketches of Noble Barlow and Folliott Stokes have been located.  The latter, so beloved of caricaturists, is again portrayed as a big man, with centre parting, large moustache and check trousers.  Frank’s humour and Hanna’s musical abilities meant that the Ver Becks became friends with the Lanyons.   In July 1914, Frank gave Herbert Lanyon a copy of Ver Beck’s Book of Bears and inscribed it with a little drawing and, the following year, when he published The Little Bear Lost - A Short Little Tale from Bruintown, he gave a copy to Lanyon, inscribing it, “Dear Mr Lanyon, If you should go to Bruintown, please be as kind to this little bear as you have been to Frank Ver Beck”.  Later, when presumably Lanyon was unwell, he sent him a drawing of one of his bears playing the bagpipes, with the message “Cheer up, Old Man!!”. 

Despite his work on children’s books, Frank was apparently poorly behaved towards his own step-daughter and, whilst in St Ives, left his wife for a younger woman.  In August 1919, shortly before his departure from the colony, he held an exhibition of his drawings at the Den Studio.  This was a studio located immediately next to the Porthmeor Studios, in the property now known as ‘The Dolls’ House’.

On his return to America, bears continued to be his most popular subject and, in 1923, he published The Little Bear Who Ran Away from Bruintown and, in 1925, he illustrated A B Paine’s The Arkansaw Bear : A Tale of Fanciful Adventure.    It is not known if he re-married.  However, he returned to England and died in July 1933 in Essex. 


Hanna Rion Ver Beck  (1874-1924)

Hanna Rion was a multi-talented American woman, who was an author, artist, composer, gardener and philanthropist.  She commented, “Writing, painting, composing and gardening are all expressions of the same inner urge to show others the visions one sees.”  She was born in Winnsboro, South Carolina and was the ninth and youngest child of Colonel James Henry Rion, an officer in the South Carolina Infantry Battalion, who fought with distinction in the American Civil War, before becoming a judge.  Her mother, Catherine, the daughter of a newspaper publisher, was a gifted musician and the author of a gardening book.  Hanna was educated at the College for Women in Columbia and was noted for her beauty and wit.  She then studied musical composition under Heinrich Barth in Berlin, where she became one of the first women to fly in a dirigible airship.  She did not consider her lack of artistic training an impediment; in fact, she proclaimed, “I have the great advantage of never being compelled to live down the experience of going to art school.  It is my opinion that art school training is a blow to personality.  Any artist, in any line, can acquire technique, if he is willing to fight for it, and, in so doing, he will develop individuality that he can’t get otherwise.”

She started her professional career as a musician and composer and performed, on the piano, joint concerts with W V Abell, whom she married in 1894.  Her only child, Theresa Rion Abell, was born in 1896, but the marriage did not last.  It is not known when she married for the second time  - on this occasion to the American illustrator, Frank Ver Beck - but her first literary work was some verses to accompany Ver Beck’s Book of Bears, published in 1906.  By the time Hanna arrived in St Ives, just prior to the First World War, she had also published The Garden in the Wilderness (1909 - under the pseudonym, A Hermit), a novel, The Smiling Road (1910), and Let’s Make A Flower Garden (1912), all of which had been illustrated by Ver Beck.  Her books on gardening may well have been inspired by her purchase in 1909 of a large property in Warwick, Bermuda, known as ‘The Cocoon’ and dating from 1700, and the unusual garden she created at this property became well-known.  Colour was king and the garden was described as “a riotous, rollicking mass of bloom”.  Vegetables and flowers grew to maturity in the same bed and tulips and hyacinths grew amidst the strawberries, as she had a policy never to disturb a self-invited guest.  Her comment,  “The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses”, is frequently included in lists of gardening quotations.  Bleistift, the St Ives art critic, in his feature on the Ver Becks, commented, “Her writings have the true outdoor spirit and the reader is so caught in the spell of the author’s inspiration that the most commonplace events become invested with romance and the joy of open air and sunshine.  It is not to be wondered at that such a keen observer and lover of nature should also seek to find expression in colour.  Mrs Ver Beck uses her paint brush with vigour and ability and, during the summer, has made several interesting street and moorland studies”

Her views on painting were as unconventional as her other beliefs.  “Painting”, she commented, “blots out to such a degree one’s personality that the ‘artist’ is entirely unconscious of self.  It is as ‘unselfed’ a procedure as holding up a mirror so that others may see a reflected picture”.   On Show Day in 1914, she exhibited a number of her paintings in her studio, Shore Studio on The Wharf.  Two were paintings of the Cornish moors, with Great Spaces being applauded for its fine sky effect, whilst one was a painting of Bermuda.  However, she soon became fascinated with the new theory developed by Dr Carl J Gauss and Dr Kronig for painless childbirth through “twilight sleep”.  This term applied to the combination of analgesia (pain relief) and amnesia (loss of memory) resulting from an injection of morphine and scopolamine, which led to a state in which the woman did not remember the pain of childbirth.  Rion wrote a number of articles on the subject for Lord Northcliffe’s Weekly Despatch before publishing in 1915, a book, The Truth About Twilight Sleep, which proclaimed, “Through Twilight Sleep, a new era has dawned for woman and through her for the whole human race.”  So enthused was she with this concept that she trained as a maternity nurse and, in collaboration with Lord Northcliffe, established eleven maternity hospitals. 


Her daughter, Theresa Abell, in addition to her art training, enjoyed a brief career as a vaudeville artist, performing during the complete runs at the Empire Theatre, London, of Razzle-Dazzle in 1916 and Hankey-Panky in 1917. She became the first artist to marry into an ancient St Ives family, when she wed in 1918 Captain Bernie Trewhella, who had lost an arm during the War.  This was the social event of the year.  Her mother encouraged her to use the 'Twilight Sleep' method, when she gave birth to her first child in 1919, much to the disapproval of her mother-in-law.  It appears this was not the only reason for friction between the two ladies, as Mrs Trewhella also did not take kindly to Hanna “attacking” the piano at the family home, ‘Trewyn’, as if she was playing in a major Concert Hall.

Shortly after the end of the War, Frank Ver Beck left Hanna for a younger woman and, in June 1921, she married for the third time, the Rev. Dr Alpheus Baker Hervey of Bath, Maine.  Hervey had made his name in 1881 with a book on sea-mosses and marine algae, which is regarded as a classic from both natural history and colour printing points of view, as he used actual specimens in the colour printing process.  He had also published several books in the 1890s on the wild flowers of America.  They lived at ‘The Cocoon’ in Bermuda, with Hanna using the summer months, when it was too hot to be out of doors, to write, and the winter months to paint, holding annual exhibitions of her work in February.  Her final book, a novel, Fate and A Marionette, was published in 1923. This story, which involved a claim to a Cornish estate, contained a sequence where scopolamine, one of the ‘twilight sleep’ drugs, was used as a truth serum for an amnesiac.  Shortly afterwards, it was used for this very purpose in San Quentin jail.  She died suddenly, aged only 49, in 1924, having achieved distinction in an astonishing array of disciplines. 


Sadly, Theresa died young too, shortly after giving birth to her second child in 1927.  She was buried in Zennor churchyard, as her brother-in-law was Vicar there in the 1920s. 


George Turland Goosey (1877-1947)


Goosey was a Northampton born artist but made his name initially as a New York architect.  He then settled in St Ives, with his American wife, Minnie, in 1919.  He did some architectural design work in St Ives, including the St Ives War Memorial.  In c.1924, he started to use the name George Turland.  Whilst frequently indulging their love  of travel, they were based in St Ives until they were caught in America on the outbreak of War in 1939 and settled in California at Laguna Bay, where George died in 1947.  The previously unknown story of his life is recorded in The Siren, Issue No 7 pt 1   Issue 7 pt 2 drawing on the unpublished biography of his widow.


Euphemia Charlton Fortune SSA  (1885-1969)

Fortune was an American landscape painter, born in Sausalito, California, and was yet another artist whose work made enormous progress during her time in St Ives.  In fact, her paintings of St Ives are considered some of the finest of her career.  Her father, who died when she was nine, was a Scot and, in 1898, she returned with an aunt to live in Scotland.  She was educated at St Margaret’s Convent, Edinburgh but her cleft palette did not make her childhood easy.  In 1904, she enrolled at St John’s Wood School of Art but the following year, she returned to California to study at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco.  However, all her early work was destroyed in the earthquake of 1906.  She then moved to New York and studied further at the Arts Students League under William Merritt Chase until 1910.  That year, she came over to Scotland again and visited Paris before returning to the States where she moved between studios in San Francisco and Monterey.  She won a silver medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915.

Between 1921 and 1927, Effie, as she was known to friends, and her mother, Helen, toured Europe and they took a studio in St Ives in January 1922.  This was Cabin Studio in St Andrew’s Street, which offered fine views over the harbour.  Effie, who that year was made member of the Society of Scottish Artists, was both passionate and knowledgeable about art.  Enthused by her new surroundings, she wrote to her friend and former student, Ethel McAllister Grubb, shortly after her arrival in St Ives, commenting,“I am at last doing some decent stuff, for the first time since I came over....This place would make a sick cat paint.”    The vigour of her work was noted when she exhibited on Show Day that year in Beach Studio with Frank Moore.  Her major work had been intended to be a large plein air canvas but the English weather had defeated her and so her exhibits were Spring Flowers, which showed “energy and decision with excellent colour sense” and Sunny Landscape, Phillack, where the handling of the clear morning light placed the work among the best on show. Whilst in St Ives, she became an enthusiast for plein air painting, exhorting her friend, Ethel Grubb, to “paint as much as you possibly can out of doors” and to avoid at all costs what she termed “the MADE PICTURE” - the studio composition.  However, she admitted “it is impossible to take large canvases out of doors here, as the light changes so rapidly, but I am doing some of the best stuff I have ever done now.” 

The aspect of St Ives that most attracted her attention was the harbour.  In November 1922, she commented,  “I have spent almost a year here, studying the harbour and the people on the quays...  When you look at the results the artists get, you see that St Ives has to be swallowed and digested before you can paint it.” When the tide was in, she described the harbour as like a sheet of melted silver “and all these figures of fishermen, girls, dogs, children and rows of washing is in silouette [sic] against this silver background.” However, it was the sight of the herring fleet returning at night that filled her with pure joy.  “Just now the Herring fishing season is in full swing....I wish you could see it.  The whole fleet of boats, the big black herring boats with red sails and the smaller mackerel boats (all white) leave the harbour in the evening....Sometime in the night they return with their catch, and if the tide is out, and the Harbour empty, you get down to the sands about nine o’clock and the beauty of it all simply knocks you flat.  Hundreds of little carts pulled by little Exmoor ponies run back and forth to the boats... These carts either carry gasoline in bright green tins to the boats, or stand alongside, the water well above the ponies’ knees, while the boxes of herrings are loaded on the carts.  The color of it all is too amazing for words.  When we first came here, everyone spoke of the grayness of St Ives.  It is like a Claude Monet but never gray.  The ponies are red mostly, and occasionally black and very shaggy, the carts have rose-madder wheels, the petrol cans are pure Sinn Fein.  The fishermen wear oilskins and, after they have been working in the barking sheds on their sails, they are pure terra cotta and venetian red.”  A vibrant sketch Herring Season (Monterey Peninsula Museum) attempts to capture the scene. 

During her time in St Ives, Effie’s painting developed immeasurably and she produced two particularly fine works towards the end of her stay.  The first - Harbor Floor, St Ives - shows mackerel boats and fishermen in the harbour at low tide in a brilliant light, the unseen blue sky brought down to earth in the shimmering reflections in the pools of water on the sands.  Definition is abandoned in the cause of light, vibrant colour and atmosphere.  However, her master work was Summer Morning, St Ives - again a depiction of the harbour beach. However, on this occasion, the fishermen and their boats are joined by inquisitive summer visitors and their children, whilst the sky is filled almost entirely with gulls.  The effect of this phenomenon on colour she mentioned to Ethel Grubb.  “..gulls, literally millions of them, looking like a snowstorm seen through a telescope, hang in a dense cloud over the town, the whole harbour is dappled with the shadows of them, like the shadows of a tree in leaf, only all moving and wheeling so rapidly that the colors take on life.”  She exhibited the painting on Show Day in 1923 in Loft Studios, along with a portrait of Henry Jenner, who was the first Grand Bard, and it made quite an impact at the RA.  A London critic described it as “impressionism beating futurism at its own game in the amount of complex suggestion that it provides, without straining the imagination to interpret a lot of arbitrary forms and, best of all, without any lapse from beauty of colour and brushwork.”  In 1924, she submitted the same work to the Paris Salon, where it won a silver medal, the French mistakenly making out the diploma to Monsieur Charlton Fortune.  She also submitted paintings of St Ives Harbour to the Carnegie Institute at Pittsburg in 1923 and 1925.

Effie and her mother left St Ives in 1923 and settled for a couple of years in St Tropez, where her colour became even richer and stronger.  It appears that St Ives artist, John Park, may have been an influence on her, as they became very friendly, and he later visited her with another of his pupils, Gerard Wagner, in St Tropez.  George and Minnie Turland Goosey also became friends, later visiting her in California.  On her return to Monterey in 1927, she exhibited work from her European trip.  Although panned by modernists, she received some considerable accolades.  Florence Lehre, Assistant Director of the Oakland Art Gallery, commented that she had “retained the soundness, the comprehensibility of the academicians, ...the methods and colors of the impressionists, ...and some of the organisation of the moderns”, whilst the San Francisco Chronicle saluted her as “the ablest thinker and producer among living California women artists....Her work has been uncontaminated by cults and isms.”

In the 1930s, she gave up easel painting altogether in order to devote her life to liturgical mural painting for the Catholic Church, becoming a founder member of the Monterey Guild, a group that crusaded for sane liturgical art.  In 1990, an exhibition of her early work was organised by the Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art and this included eight paintings of St Ives.  This exhibition has re-established her as one of California’s foremost women Impressionist painters.


Wilson Henry Irvine ANA (1869-1936)

The Journal maintained by the American artist, Wilson Henry Irvine, during his three and a half month stay in St Ives in 1923, is a unique document, for it is the only day-by-day record of an artist’s experiences in the colony.  It is also fascinating for it records how the fisherfolk were far more welcoming than members of the artistic community.

Born in Illinois, Irvine became known for his impressionist landscape paintings.  After schooling in Rockford, Illinois, he moved to Chicago in 1888, starting out as a commercial artist, using the new airbrush technology.  In April 1891, he married Lydia Weyber, the daughter of a language Professor at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, and, in 1893, he started working for the Chicago Portrait Company.  Between 1895 and 1903, he took evening classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and was a founder member, in 1895, of the Palette and Chisel Club.  He started exhibiting at the Institute in 1900.  In 1908-9, he spent some time in Europe, working in the colonies of Pont-Aven and Concarneau and it is possible that, during this trip, his wife and himself visited St Ives for the first time.   On his return to America, Irvine based himself again in Chicago and continued to exhibit there and in Pennsylvania.  In 1915, he won a silver medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco.  However, having spent the summer in Connecticut in the years 1914-7, he moved there permanently in 1918 and became associated with the Old Lyme Colony, which had developed into a centre for American Impressionism and was the home of several artists, such as Guy Wiggins and William Chadwick, who had previously worked in St Ives.

Irvine, who was always keen to experiment with his art, confirmed that the purpose of his European trip in 1923 was to seek new challenges so as to avoid getting into a rut.  “I determined to get new impressions and to start afresh in all things when I went abroad.  I left my palette, brushes and paints at home.  In London, I bought new square brushes.  Before that, I used round ones.  I found a different palette and chose a new make of colors and a new easel.  Everything was different.”   His wife, Lydia, and himself arrived in St Ives on 20th February and stayed until 1st June.  He commented, “I understood at once what it was that drew the artists to that odd little old village, and its picturesque characters.  The shore and the sea held me...Every day had something new for a picture.  The associations are extraordinary.”  

It took them just two hours to find a studio flat in a loft on The Wharf, which he described as “hardly more than a barn, but roomy, airy (very) and good north light for work”.  He considered the view from their window to be the best vista of the harbour and described it as “a never-ending joy”, for, even when the men were not going out on the boats, there was constant work to be done, as they overhauled sails, nets, anchor chains and ropes, whilst there were always “groups of men talking, talking”.  He was soon outside at work on a low tide scene, with pools of water in the sand and an old man raking seaweed, and realised that he would need to work quickly.  “Got to get this harbor on the run for each tide lays the boats, pools and seaweed differently.”   His descriptions of fishermen pacing up and down, boats swaying in the groundswell, children playing on the sand and dogs scampering through the pools of water make fine word pictures as well.  Unfortunately, almost from the outset, he was dogged by bad weather, which hampered his efforts to paint en plein air, but he made forays out whenever he could, even if he was beaten back inside within an hour or two.  Comments such as “Corking sky today” or “The harbor was simply glorious” are more than outweighed by curses over the incessant rain.

Just a couple of days after his arrival, Irvine commented, “Am gradually getting able to pick out men among the fishing people whom I have met or passed the time of day.  They are all civil and kind, as all people seem to be who follow the sea.  They are extremely poor here and many are being helped.  There are four families below our attic studio - all very poor.”  A neighbour soon warned him not to sketch on a Sunday, indicating that an artist had recently been thrown into the harbour for doing so, and he repeatedly cursed his luck that, during the period of particularly bad weather that he experienced at St Ives, he could always rely on Sunday, when he could not work, being a fine day.  However, having entered the words “damn weather” in his diary, he noted that, since his arrival in St Ives, “Have not heard an oath or near it or an obscene word or remark or seen a drunken man”.

He also later mentioned that his wife had received a severe ticking off from their cleaner and washerwoman, Mrs Caulkins, whom he described as “a Salvation Army lass and a good mother and neighbor”, for complaining about the “bloody weather”.  This was the same woman, he noted, who happily admitted that “it was the custom among the fisherfolk for the daughters to get in a family way, then marry.”

In general, he found the fisherfolk helpful and scrupulously honest.  Several times, his unfamiliarity with the English currency could have been exploited, but they always pointed out his mistake, and refused to accept money for gifts of fish made to him.  One warned him that the tide came in very quickly, where he had set up his easel, and that it might be best, if he moved.  Another got a board for him to stand on when the position he favoured was wet, and also kept an eye on the tide for him.  Another warned, “Don’t dare put in the old green goods lady.  If you do, she will do what she did once - smash up your canvas.” The fisherfolk were also not afraid to pass comment on his work.  He had got the sail all wrong.  They also regaled him with stories of the other artists.  Alfred Bailey was colour-blind, they thought, whilst John Park “can paint anything - make a picture of anything”.   They also put him off hackneyed motifs.  On finding a “stunning old court” - probably Hick’s Court, with its unusual stone arch -, he was assured by an old lady, that they had all painted it, “four deep sometimes, my dear man”. 

On Irvine’s very first day, a schooner got into difficulties in the Bay and he watched the exciting spectacle of the lifeboat at work, as it took the men off the schooner and made light of bringing in the great boat by torch light.  When he heard that the men in the lifeboat were on 15s each, he commented, “It makes me feel cheap in kicking about a smoky stove or any of our hardships”   A month later, one of the local boats, Mitzpah, ran on to the rocks at the back of The Island at night in thick fog and was completely destroyed.  Irvine suggested to the Mayor that a relief fund should be set up and was the first to donate.  He commented, “I gave £5, and for all the kindnesses of these men to me, it seemed too little.”  Even without such disasters, Irvine recorded how times were tough for the fishermen.  One man, whose wife was due to give birth imminently, asked Irvine for money, as neither of them had eaten for days, whilst the younger men constantly asked him about life in America, as they were contemplating emigration.

The manner in which Irvine was immediately accepted by the fisherfolk contrasted greatly with the lack of courtesy, indeed rudeness, shown by the local artists towards him.  Irvine arrived in St Ives on 20th February and yet it was not until 2nd April, some six weeks later, that he recorded, “Douglas, painter here, talked to me while at work!! The first here.”  On another occasion, he was painting in The Warren, when someone suggested that he should join the Arts Club but, on hearing that he was American, suddenly went lukewarm on the idea, prompting Irvine to comment, “I should hate America if I thought our own fellows were not kinder to a visiting painter.”  He also mentioned an encounter with an artist, whom he called “Spark” and described as “as good a painter as there is here, save Simpson” - clearly a reference to John Park - , who disconcerted him by silently watching his palette like a hawk all the time.  Even as late as April 19th, Irvine recorded, “Usual bunch of painters going by, rubbering, staring but never a word.”  Indeed, the only two artists, who did eventually make an effort to be friendly towards him, were John Douglas and Lowell Dyer. Irvine’s experience suggests not only the onset
of xenophobia, something quite unheard of before, given the number of foreign artists that had been warmly welcomed previously, but also a complete loss of self-confidence.  Irvine seems to have been perceived not as a fine painter, who could spread the word about the enchantments of St Ives to his fellow countrymen, but as a serious threat to a potential sale in a depressed market.

In addition to harbour subjects, which drew him back time and again, Irvine records a number of sketches that he worked upon.  He was attracted by a smithy near the Tregenna Castle Hotel, and he painted the end of Fore Street, with James Cockings in his usual pose, hands deep in his pockets.  After various false starts, he also completed a depiction of the seaward side of houses in The Warren, Westcotts Quay and St Andrews Street in an afternoon light (probably the painting called Old St Ives that came up at auction on 30th April 2013 at Bonhams, Los Angeles).  In the foreground of this, he depicts hens pecking away for scraps on the rocks in front of The Warren - a pretty hazardous spot in rough weather from which the wooden huts constructed against the walls of the houses were unlikely to offer much protection.  Indeed, on one occasion, Irvine indicated that he had to wait for an hour to allow the tide to go down so that he could reach his painting position.  He did a big canvas of the houses on the waterfront under a gray light (probably A Gray Day, which came up at auction at Philip Weiss on 21st November 2010) and also one of the “stunning” outside of his studio flat, with its mottled coat of patched plaster and exposed brick, revealing windows filled in here and others opened there.  A corner street scene, that he refers to on occasion, is likely to be of Norway Lane, and this resulted in a work called Rooftops. He also recorded doing a grey marine scene at Clodgy, which may have been Lot 80 at Bonhams, New York on 15th May 2012.  Towards the end of his stay, he worked on a painting of Lelant Church and a landscape at Phillack - “cottages along under Cliff creek, in spring dress, apple blossoms and redening trees”.  Whilst working at Phillack, Irvine, had a man of about 25 standing very close to him for over an hour, staring without saying a word.  As he ignored all hints that he was being a nuisance, Irvine was forced to stop work and stare at him for a full minute before he went off, again without saying a word.

Irvine had been impressed by the village of Zennor, as he passed through on the way to St Ives, and, on a Sunday in late March, he and his wife returned to view the cliff scenery.  “We walked to the Zennor Head  - about 15 minutes.  In the clear afternoon light, it was all tremendously impressive.  Headlands 150 or 200 feet high, great chasms leading down to the sea, their sides broken with grey rocks, gorse and reddish stone debris, all in shadow with fascinating lines of light picked out here and there, water breaking at their foot and the sun in such a position to sparkle on the water.  And against these great, rich dark masses, gulls flying way below us giving it all scale.” So impressed were they by the scenery that they immediately determined to spend some time based there and they booked a fortnight in mid-May in a cottage in the village near to the Inn.  It was very basic.  “We have to pick up gorse brush to kindle our fire, meat man once a week, baker twice, coal man seldom.  Water at the town pump by the roadside.  Privy up three of the dampest stone steps one ever negotiated.  Stone floors.”   The cottage creaked at night and was very cold.  However, he loved the desolation of the moors and the rich gold of the gorse.  On his first day, he spent five hours battling the wind and rain on Zennor Head.  “It was rotten but the intermittent bursts of the sun on the fierce seas, as they broke against the head, was simply great and it was worth all the discomfort.”

Two days later, he explored Gurnard’s Head as well. “Its south slope is easy on the water and there are motifs simply great.  A fine surf today.  The view to the south - great gashes in the rocks black against the sun, sparkling surf below, gulls soaring in the chasms.  It’s titanic cosmos unspoiled through the ages.”  He considered these heads to be the finest that he had ever seen, and he braved the elements to do a number of small and large works, finding the glare off the sea of the sun, when it did condescend to shine, painful to the eyes.  There seems little doubt, therefore, that his painting, England’s Shores, which he showed at the NA and Chicago in 1924, was a depiction of one of these headlands.  A painting entitled Early Morning Light, which came up at Bonham’s, New York on 20th May 2009, depicts Gurnard’s Head from Zennor, whilst a fine work depicting a sailing boat pulling two dinghies off a rocky headland on the Cornish coast, is also likely to have been painted in this region.  In 2005, it achieved $70,000, the highest price at auction for a work by the artist.

Irvine mentions painting on occasion with an artist called Hilliard, probably his fellow American, F. John Hilliard (b.1886), a portrait painter and etcher, who came from Massachusetts.  Irvine’s first mention of him reads, “Hilliard around, when I was working, in his swank tweeds and light gloves, tan socks.  Backed into him with my palette - smear.”!  A couple of days later, he records, “Hilliard along with me.  He improves fast in his painting.”   However, Hilliard may not have stayed in St Ives, as there are references to him “coming over”.  A favourite destination after they had finished sketching was the ‘Sloop Inn’, whose old port they both rated as “corking”.  Irvine recorded seeing on the walls of the pub work by Hayley Lever and fellow American, George Bruestle. 

Irvine’s friendship with John Douglas resulted primarily from a shared interest in photography.  He was most impressed with Douglas’ work, commenting.  “He is a really corking photographer.  Never saw as fine ones of the sea.”  Irvine also liked one of gulls in the harbour and was not surprised to learn that Douglas had sent his series of the sea to Paul Dougherty, “who certainly would find them useful in marine painting”.  Irvine was amused to be told by Douglas that photography was a sideline for him, and then to be told by Lowell Dyer that, for Douglas, painting was the sideline. On a photography expedition to Hor Point, Douglas admitted as much, confirming that his camera had been “his un-doing  artistically” and regretting that “he hadn’t quite hit if off” as an artist.   He also recorded his impressions of a visit to Douglas’ studio, noting that the studio had “an accumulation of over thirty years.  Other painters leave their things with him and never come back.  At least ten paint boxes.  He melts up the old tin paint tubes and has 75lbs of pure tin worth several £s.”  On his departure, he bought a considerable number of Douglas’ photos, which he may well have found useful in finishing off his paintings, given the poor weather that he had experienced.  Indeed, one of Douglas’ photographs of a sailing ship off a rocky headland may well have been the inspiration for Irvine’s The Cornish Coast above.

Irvine described Lowell Dyer as “a small, nervous little man”, who told funny stories and complained of bad eyes, but they became friends, and he thought Dyer’s new home and studio at ‘Tallandside’ were very fine.  However, despite thinking a few of Dyer’s religious paintings had “real tone and interest”, he was amazed at the state of his old Porthmeor Studio.   “His enormous studio is filled with old drawings in charcoal and black and white oil, with which he starts on his canvases of birds, gulls, eagles and sparrow wings, from which he makes his angels’ wings, frames and palettes thrown about, canvases on and off stretchers, old frames, broken rags for draperies, dust, old lanterns - piles of junk thrown down for thirty years and never picked up or dusted.” 

From St Ives, the Irvines moved on to Clovelly, then to Betwys-y-Coed, before going up to the Outer Hebrides as guests of Lord Leverhulme.  They then paid a return visit to Brittany, spending some time painting in Pont-Aven and Concarneau, before returning home by the end of the year.  He had various exhibitions of his European work, including a joint show with Guy Wiggins at Carper Galleries in Detroit.  Cornish titles included Low Tide, St Ives, The Ragged Coast, Cornwall, Harbor of St Ives, The Fishing Fleet and The Cornish Coast.  The trip was felt to have had a profound influence on his work.  Known previously for his bright and happy palette and his spirited handling of paint, some reviewers felt that his European work evidenced “a resolve to subdue his paint handling to conform to a more sober palette.  Here and there, especially in the foreground of some of his landscape paintings, are to be found his old fireworks, but generally speaking, the paint is more methodically and carefully placed with a new care for drawing and values...The effect of this has been to give to these pictures more air of reality and actuality.”  Of the St Ives works in particular, the critic said, “It is evident that he has had to deal with colors gauged and subdued and bound together into a tonality by a light perhaps filtered through Atlantic mists.”   This is likely to be the result of the excessively wet weather that Irvine encountered, for he mentions that, even when the weather cleared, there was often a fine haze over the harbour, but, in an interview in 1924, he admitted that he liked to paint best “when there’s a kind of hazy beauty in the air”.  

In 1926, Irvine was elected an ANA and the following year he exhibited there Dick ‘Awkins of Cornwall, his portrait of the local hunchback and his donkey.  Cornish titles, such as St Michael’s Mount and Cornish Coast, also featured later amongst what he called his ‘aqua-prints’, printed on marbleized paper made by an old Japanese process.  A retrospective exhibition Wilson Henry Irvine and the Poetry of Light, which contained five paintings of St Ives, was put on by the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme in 1998.  Yet again, the well-documented visit of this fine artist and the splendid paintings that he was inspired to produce have received no attention at all in St Ives. 


William Trost Richards           1878,1879, 1880, 1905

George Boughton                 1881

William John Whittemore        1881, 1891, 1893

James McNeill Whistler          1884

Edward Simmons                 1886-1892

Vesta Simmons                   1886-1892, 1895

Howard Russell Butler           1886-7, 1895, 1899

Frank Chadwick                  1886-1924 on/off

Charles Reinhart                 1887

Abbott Fuller Graves           c. 1887

Rosalie Gill                        1887, 1890

Lowell Dyer                       1888-1939

Sydney Mortimer Laurence   1889-1901, 1904

Alexandrina Laurence          1889-1901, 1904, 1916

Leslie Giffen Caudwell         1889

Charles F. de Klyn              1890

DeWitt Parshall                 1890

Blanche Dillaye                 1890

Carlton Theodore Chapman 1891, ?1894, ?1902

Anna Mary Richards Brewster 1891

Henry Bayley Snell              1891, 1910, 1912, 1914

Florence Francis Snell         1891, 1910, 1912, 1914

John Noble Barlow (American citizen) 1892-1917

Arthur Hoeber                    1893

William Russell Whitmore      1893 (Newlyn 1890-6)

Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell  1893-4

George Henry Bogert            1893-4, 1895?

Abbott Handerson Thayer      1894, 1898

John Carleton Wiggins          1895-7

Hamilton Hamilton                1895

Herbert Waldron Faulkner     1895,1897,1924 

Frederick Judd Waugh         1895-6, 1906-7

Clara Wells Lathrop            1897 

Richard Levick                   1898

William Wendt                   1898-9, 1903-4

George Gardner Symons       1898-9, 1901-2, 1904, 1908-9, 1914, 1929 

Thomas Alexander Harrison   1899 

William P W Dana               1899

Alfred Pazolt                     1900-1909

Richard Hayley Lever         1900-1914, 1927

William Staples Drown         1901 

Irma Richter                      1901-2

Frank Forrest Frederick       1903

Arthur Beaumont               1902, 1906-9, 1911-14

Walter Elmer Schofield        1903-7, return visits until 1944

Charles Herbert Woodbury   1903-4

Bessie Stough Callender       1904

Melbourne Havelock Hardwick 1904 

Lewis Cohen                      1904

Morris (Maurice) Molarsky    1904

Henry Turner Keasbey        1904-1917

Walter Norris                    1904-5, 1921

George Oberteuffer            1904-5

Frank Hutton Shill              1904-5, 1907-1910

Calthea Campbell Vivian       1905 

Edith Varian Cockcroft         1905, 1908, 1911

George Herbert McCord       1906

David John Gue                   1906

Alfred Vance Churchill          1906

Lilian Amy Montague            1907

J Sherman Bristol                1907, 1911

John Herbert Chadwick        1907

Laura Coombs Hills              1908

Frederick Mulhaupt             1908, 1912

William Samuel Horton         1907-8 

Paul Dougherty                  1908-1914

Henry Bayley Snell / Florence Snell   1909

- Snell students include

- Sara Hayden                  1909 (also 1905 briefly)

Anna Althea Hills               1909-11

Edward A Page                 c.1910

William J Potter                1911-13

Mariana Sloan                  1911

George Joseph Seideneck   1912

Victor Higgins                   1912

Robert Wadsworth Grafton   1912 

Max Kuehne                     1912-3 

Frank Ver Beck                 1913-1920

Hanna Rion Ver Beck         1913-1920

Karl Schmidt                    1913

Oscar Anderson               1913

Nina Weir-Lewis               1913-1937

Helen Stuart Weir            1913-1969

Students of Henry Bayley Snell       1914

 - Dixie Selden

 - Emma Mendenhall

 - Ida Holloway

 - Irma Kohn (later Koen)

 - Felicie Howell

 - Mitteldorfer Strauss

 - Mary N McCord

 - Marcella Smith

Guy Carleton Wiggins        1914, 1927

Richard Emil Miller (+ students) 1914

Charles Chapel Judson        1914-5, 1924 

William Chadwick               1914-5 

Vernon Ellis                      1919 

George Turland Goosey (New York architect)  1919-1937

Euphemia Charlton Fortune   1922-3

Howard Ellis                        1922-3

Wilson Henry Irvine               1923

Beatrice Lavis Cuming           c.1929

William Gilman Low / Rhoda Low     1930

George Mathew Bruestle               pre-1923

William Paskell                            pre-1923